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Courting Collaboration • Between Technical and "Non-Technical"

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Part 1 of 5 for the July edition of "Converging over Coffee"

If we’re going to solve those big complex problems, we need to collaborate at scale

to drive the pace of innovation that is needed. While a good idea, collaboration can

be illusive. At the end of the day, it is more than just putting opportunities together,

connecting resources, and matching partners. Collaboration happens at the human

level, and that’s where the most wicked challenges are found.

This first story of courting collaboration may be familiar to many who are engineers

or work with engineers.

In developing a vision for a sustainable master plan for a large development, a

planner ran into a wall in the form of the director of the engineering team. He

thought the plan was excessive, not feasible and that he knew better what can be

achieved because he was the technical person. The planner quickly learned how

developing such a complex vision required a more inclusive approach and specific

techniques that takes care of the “front stage” (the management levels &

stakeholders) and also aligns the “back stage” (the various functions that make

things possible).

However, the mentality on display here from a senior engineering leader does

remind me that as Engineers, we are needed to be part of the solution but can also

end up as part of the problem if we’re not aware of our responsibilities in



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