By: Gayle Dendinger Issue: Rebuilding Our Infrastructure Section: Letter From Publisher In previous articles, I have referenced bugs because of their metaphoric symbolism. ICOSA exists at the intersection of resources, vision, transformation and continuity as represented by the spider as infrastructure. Collaboration creates value by maximizing these different characteristics.
The past 13 issues have focused on Competitive Advantage, Corporate Social Responsibility, Education, Energy and the Environment, Global Trade, Conscious Capitalism, Sports, Women, the Biennial, Collaborative Leadership, Big Ideas Smart People, Growth and Innovation and now Infrastructure. In the last issue, I discussed how we were progressing as a company to get the magazine where it is today. I also spoke about the Native American culture inspiring me to look at creatures in a metaphorical state. Future issues of ICOSA are going to focus on creature characteristics; hence this issue is on infrastructure. As you flip the page, you will see how the spider uses its web to develop its infrastructure and how that is a basis for a model for organizations.
We have found that collaboration is all about building on the strengths of others to create endless possibilities. Potential doesn’t just appear; it is found-and sometimes even created – by those who seek to expand their horizons. Even people who excel at completely different tasks can find a way to work together and create value. In fact, most collaborative opportunities are the result of circumstance, not intricately calculated planning.
Future issue topics will be on resource management, vision, transformation and continuity. Our goal is to show the importance of creating potential through infrastructure (spider), a resource management system (bee), and a vision (dragonfly), then transforming (butterfly) it all into actual accomplishment and continually (snail) improving upon it. However, just because a strong and organized infrastructure is in place does not mean that imperative resources are automatically shared. A collaborative organization must have a means to store, organize, and easily access the resources. Bees are the representation of resource management. Bees show us that there must be one universal method for information sharing so that the information is sustainable, consistent and uniform.
The dragonfly teaches us to use our vision of the past and present to make deliberate plans of action for future projects and by moving forward using smaller goals; a collaborative effort will be more responsive to challenges in the path and changes in tactics, making a long-term goal more attainable. This is represented by the dragonfly’s eye. Members of the infrastructure focus on their areas of expertise. Resource management systems that are centralized and organized greatly facilitate resource storage and location. A clear vision, along with a detailed plan of implementation, eliminates wasted effort. By building on past accomplishments and constantly working to maintain systems, an organization’s potential and accomplishment will build exponentially as seen in the transformation of the butterfly.
The snail represents continuity. Continuity allows projects to build on one another instead of starting over each time. By reusing and rebuilding infrastructure, resource management systems, and resources, collaborative organizations have a vantage point. In order for an organization to build wisely for the future, it must first reflect on what it already has established. Smart organizations build on established infrastructure, resources, and vision from the past as the basis for the next round of projects. This combination allows collaborative partners to multiply their own core competencies, provide consumer benefits and increase competitiveness. It also enables leveraging of strong contacts and expertise. The five creature characteristics (infrastructure, resource management, vision, transformation and continuity) are instrumental in making collaboration possible. When two organizations join together to work on one project, they have to combine their two infrastructures, two visions and two sets of resources into one shared infrastructure, one shared vision and one set of shared resources. We are excited about the endless possibilities this magazine has created and will continue to create for our collaborative partners.
- Gayle Dendinger