Collaborative Innovation

To address today’s complex challenges we need deeper levels of collaboration among diverse groups and individuals who share common aspirations. This requires collaboration across social sectors and systems for a greater coherence of efforts. More than agreements to cooperate or coordinate efforts, Collaborative Innovation requires deep forms of engagement that are grounded in shared purpose, supported through Participatory Leadership, and actualized through Strategic Dialogue. Through Collaborative Innovation we deepen our collective will and ability to create the systemic changes that can only be achieved together.

Getting to Collaborative Innovation requires that we be in good process together. This pathway to innovation is often referred to as the Chaordic Path, and refers to our ability and confidence to live in the ambiguity of not knowing while we engage in deep levels of Appreciative Inquiry to explore what is possible. This process shifts the paradigm from solving problems to manifesting new possibilities.

Getting to Collaborative Innovation requires that we stay in Strategic Dialogue and learning long enough to avoid short-changing deeper possibilities. In Strategic Dialogue, we discover that we hold common intentions for a thriving world. And as we begin to prototype our innovations, we continue to be open to further adaptations and new emergent possibilities. Staying in Strategic Dialogue allows us to more effectively think, learn, and adapt together.

This type of innovation requires a different type of learning, a learning that comes from a willingness to suspend what we know, to inquire into root causes, and to learn through doing. Learning starts with the realization that we create our own reality, individually and collectively. It means we’re willing to change our personal and collective ways of thinking, being, and doing, knowing that changing our inner reality shifts our outer reality.


Change is the only constant. The only way to survive is as a learning organization – to continually adapt, learn, to be change-responsive, to reinvent reality and the future, to transform. Organizations that excel in the future will be those that understand how to gain the commitment of people at all levels and continually expand their capacity to learn. A learning organization is a place where, through learning, people are continually re-perceiving their world and their relationship to it, discovering how they create their reality and their future.  – Jayne Rolls


Every profound innovation is based on an inward-bound journey, on going to a deeper place where knowing comes to the surface.  – W. Brian Arthur