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
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