Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

Working Together

February 18, 2013

Finding Common Ground – Peter DeWitt’s blog

imagesNone of us is as smart as all of us. Many of you have heard me say this  Japanese proverb. My friend and colleague retired Maine Alliance for Arts Education Executive Director, Carol Trimble has this family saying We’re a Genius. When I came across this blog post titled Working Together, We Can Produce Genius I thought, I am going to like this blog post written by Robert Garmston and Valerie von Frank. And, I do and recommend it!

The authors point out that working in collaboration is not new. For example, even though Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb he did not work alone. He worked with several scientists who bounced ideas off each other and collaborated in a large open space. Hmmm… that sounds familiar.

They mention the “shift” happening in schools out of necessity, with teachers working together “combining efforts to work more strategically”. We know this is not a new concept either. But is it happening more in your schools than perhaps 5 or 10 years ago? And, are you involved in the team work?

I’ve noticed that we talk about collaborating in our work but do we know what that means, do we know how it looks? Does it matter who is collaborating? I have many questions about collaboration. If we try it once and it fails do we give up? How do we know which teachers should work together? What is the purpose of collaborating? Will it provide more and better opportunities for student learning and achievement?

The authors suggest these three topics to confront while planning.

  1. The group is (almost) always smarter than its members.
  2. The wisdom of the group can create better decisions.
  3. Who’s in the group matters.

I kept honey bees for several years and was amazed by their habits, behaviors, and how and what they produced. Each bee has their role and the sheer number of bees in a hive, about 30,000, all buzzing around playing their part! Talk about collaboration! I will never forget the first time I went into a bee hive. The bees clearly knew their part and who was supposed to be there. I was clearly a foreigner.

What can we learn from bees and other groups that function in a collaborative environment that have a positive impact on the world? What can we learn from teams who have creatively tackled new ideas and concepts and made a community a better place? Perhaps sharing the blog post Working Together We Can Produce Genius with a colleague or the staff at your school would be a good place to start (or continue) a discussion.


Maine Leaders to Explore the Critical Connection Between Imagination, Creativity and Economic Development

March 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 5th – Imagination Conversation

Eric Hopkins

A collaboration of public and private organizations has come together to host a community-wide event so that Maine can lend its collective voice to a national conversation on how to foster the innovation and creativity needed to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.

“From Imagination to Innovation: Maine Participates in the Lincoln Center Institute’s Imag’nation Conversation” will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall, Bedford Street, Portland.
To register, go to Tickets are $20 for the public and $5 for students.

The Maine Center for Creativity and the University of Southern Maine are presenting the event. Collaborators include the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission, the Creative Portland Corporation, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Department of Education, Wright Express, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Public Broadcasting.

Through a keynote address and a series of discussions in concurrent workshops, the “Conversation” will provide opportunities for people from diverse sectors to consider how we can integrate imagination into our
schools, workplaces and communities in such a way that it advances creation of a vibrant economy and quality of life.  “We hope to bring people together from different walks of life to discover that imagination is essential not
only in the arts,” said Jean Maginnis, executive director of the Maine Center for Creativity, “but also in the success of all of us in the state of Maine.”

To help focus the discussions, participants will be asked to respond to the following three questions:

  • How does imagination function in your field/work/sector?
  • How do you cultivate and sustain imagination in your work?
  • What will it take for us to foster these practices in Maine?

Conversations from each of the 50 states are being documented and compiled for presentation at a national “Imagination Summit” in New York scheduled for July of this year. It’s expected that an action agenda will be developed to make the cultivation of imagination a key element in our schools and part of a national public policy agenda.

The Portland event will feature nationally known artist Eric Hopkins of North Haven, who will offer the keynote address. Other speakers include University of Maine Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering Habib
Dagher; mimedancer Karen Montanaro;  Aaron Frederick, entrepreneur and a founder of Rippleffect, the non-profit that exposes teens to the coastal Maine experience; and Carol Farrell, co-director of Figures of Speech
Theatre. Veteran Maine journalist and public affairs consultant Patsy Wiggins will serve as moderator.

“As part of our mission as a public university we provide a forum where people of diverse perspectives can come together and think creatively and provocatively about how to better understand and advance the important
issues of the day,” said USM President Selma Botman.

For more information on the Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) and the “Imag’nation Conversations,” visit

Editor’s Note: For More information, including contacts at the collaborating organizations, contact Jean Maginnis, executive director, Maine Center for Creativity, (207) 730-0694

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