What does collaborative action mean to you?
For many, collaborative action might have bring to mind rail strikes, anti-war marches, or maybe just signing up to a 38 Degrees petition. If you work in the public sector you might think of joint working across department silos, or in the private sector it might mean hostile mergers & acquisitions!
In 2015 I organised a group to cycle from Bristol to COP 21 in Paris, taking with us a manifesto for change. It was a great trip, with some good publicity, and lifelong memories that we all now share. On reflection, I think it is this latter point that is probably the most powerful.
In the Impact Hub network collaborative action means something altogether more fundamental than simply sharing desks in the same co-working space. It is about a collective sense of purpose that threads through everyone’s shared consciousness, guiding their vision and values. As a result it has the potential to be much more powerful than one-off processes that might bring people together to achieve a momentary gain. A collaboration that lacks a shared vision will soon splinter, allowing those with a longer term perspective to maintain their position. Building momentum that can withstand sudden storms is key to embedding change that can challenge the status quo.
Herein lies the true challenge. We appear to be in the grip of a system that promotes greater inequality, entirely counter-intuitively to that which is in the best interests of the majority. Of course, many individuals have benefited hugely from increase in wealth and improved quality of life. But a society whose vision and values are defined predominantly by self interest can only prosper when availability of resources is growing at a greater rate than need. The Stockholm Institute has evidenced through their research on planetary limits that three of those limits may have already been breached, with several more on course to be breached soon. The world is heating up to boiling point, with exponential population increase based on fossil fuels pushing environmental systems to the brink of collapse.
Collaborative Action for Collective Impact
Impact Hub Bristol aims to support those individuals, organisations, businesses and partnerships who understand the power of working for the common good, (as opposed to those that are determined to win at the expense of the competition), whether that be locally, nationally or internationally. Often referred to as the “tragedy of the commons”, we must break the cycle of individualism and instead build collectivism. Impact Hub Bristol can’t fix everything clearly, but in its most simple terms, IHB can, and will provide a space for work that is based upon a shared desire for positive impact. We will create a culture where members will trade their knowledge and expertise not through contracts and purchase orders, but through fellowship and friendship. Impact Hub Bristol’s programme of development activities and events will focus on a single aim – to create a more equal future.
If you share this vision, we would love to hear from you. It’s going to be great fun.