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#Collaboration is quite the buzz word these days.  But have you ever found yourself asking why we even bother with collaboration?  It’s extra work, extra meetings, extra time that none of us seem to have.  Or have you considered whether we know if our working together with others is even making a difference?  Outcome measures are hard to come by and positive change is often slow.

These are questions we’ve been tackling in this year’s Learning Community Series.  With a specific focus on collaboration within the context of sharing space, Denver Shared Spaces is hosting a quarterly gathering of some of the best, and most curious minds, in the local shared space arena.  Together we have been learning new tools for creating, growing, and sustaining collaborative partnerships.

Last week, we held the third session of the series and explored how multi-sector partnerships can be facilitated by sharing physical space. Hosted by VOA-Colorado’s Daniels Veteran Service Center (VSC), twenty of us worked together to apply the Partnership Mapping Tool to explore how and why the new VSC uses collaboration to meet its mission.  Our conversation was supported and informed by the graphic recording of Lydia Hooper with Fountain Visual Communications.  Her skills at distilling complex ideas into visuals helped drive the conversation forward and resulted in increased understanding and “ah ha” moments from participants.  Check out the final illustration at the top of this post!

As a result of the session, participants are now equipped to apply this mapping tool to their own centers, projects, and partnerships.  This tool provides us with the opportunity to explore the range of stakeholders related to our mission.  It also promotes an exploration of the assets and gaps that we are each “trading” on when we work together.  The final component of the tool gives a visual description of the kinds of relationships between those organizational or business partners, and – perhaps most importantly – the strength and type of interpersonal connections between people in those organizations or businesses.  Through this, we can identify next steps and strategies for deepening our connections to, and partnerships with, stakeholders.

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Want to attend the next Learning Community?
Join us December 9, 2015 4-6 pm
Corky Gonzales Library, 1498 N. Irving St.
Register now

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