It’s a dark and rainy afternoon here in England: walking home from work, the streetlights glowing orange as i splashed through the puddles, i bumped into Richard. We took shelter in the nearest dry space: the pub at the end of our road, and spent an hour catching up, sharing stories, sharing ideas, setting the world to rights.
The pub is a collaborative space, one of many that we work in. Rich and i work together quite often, sometimes collaborating in offices, sometimes online, sometimes in cafes or on trains: the space is academic, the stories are key.
We create our reality and carry it with us, adding new chapters with each passing month and year. We’re inhabitants of the Social Age: the office is dead for us, instead our stories are written on client sites, online, from our iPads and shared widely through many channels. Our relationship crosses from project to project, persisting through time because we add value for each other: in the best traditions of the learning network, we offer both challenge and support and help each other create meaning in times of constant change.
Of course, i do this with other people too, people further away, like David, over in Canada. Whilst David and i have never met in person, we collaborate almost daily, with his feedback and thoughts influencing my own ideas and development.
We need these spaces to collaborate in: be they the pub we shelter from the rain in, the shared spaces at conferences and workshops or the infamous water cooler moment. These are the places that we gather in and where we learn.