Angles on shared purpose

I can across a couple of references to shared purpose purpose in recent days that got me thinking.

HBR’s “thought of the day” is that collaboration needs shared purpose

Insight Labs identify that successful collaboration depends on ‘transcendent interest’


I like the idea of transcendence in purpose, because it speaks to me of organically emergent shared purpose.

To be honest, when I read HBR I think that most other readers are probably thinking something like “yes, what I need to do is create a really strong vision for this company, and make sure that all teams know they are working for this - then they will collaborate!”

But hey, maybe I’m wrong! (Hopefully.)

To me, a process of finding (creating) a shared purpose, emerging from the collective, is cocreative. Whereas rally troops around a purpose decreed by another is a perfect example of non-cocreative working - and an illustration of how the non-cocreative paradigm approaches collective action.

Do others have thoughts on vision, purpose and how they may (or may not) relate to cocreation?

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Stirring and chewing

Hi @jsbaxter -

although you don’t have a written response here yet, just wanted to let you know that this post stirred up a good discussion during our most recent Ci2i core group monthly call. Thank you for that! Still chewing on the thoughts on this that I’d like to share… stay tuned!

Getting on a train vs stopping a train to change it’s direction

I think the challenge I have with what you’ve framed here, John, is that you seem to imply that everyone who will ever work on a project/initiative should have a role to play in co-creating the vision. In practical terms, however, there comes a moment when revisiting the vision becomes counter productive to progress.

A powerful vision that inspires is extremely important in motivating engagement. In the context of a co-creative impact initiative, ideally many stakeholders will be engaged in developing that vision, maybe even beginning the work to move toward it. As the initiative gains momentum, more people might be included down the line. If each time more people become involved you have to stop to co-create the vision again, there’s a risk of undermining the work that’s already been done, and devaluing the input of those who participated in earlier stages.

Perhaps the challenge is not to include every possible stakeholder in co-creating a vision, but developing a vision which makes room for building on co-creative inputs and energies at many stages. What Jean wrote about co-creative process being present in phases really resonated with me.

If you’re trying to “sell” co-creation as a way to achieve greater impact, I think it’s dangerously limiting to propose that we have to start from scratch every time. The introduction of co-creative processes can add tremendous value to existing orgs/initiatives, even if they didn’t start that way.

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