This article was published as part of the Healthcare Forum's Healthy Communities Action Kits, Module 4, in 1994
International Copyright 1995 Joe Flower All Rights Reserved
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Usually people collaborate out of weakness, not out of strength. You collaborate because you have to. But there is a creative dimension in collaboration that must not be ignored.
You can collaborate two ways: the usual one is that you compromise for the lowest common denominator. The better way is to get all the relevant parties to join in a creative process to find a new form, a synthesis of their visions and missions, which everyone owns.
The "lowest common denominator" method is less frustrating and difficult, but produces less and is short-term.
Healthy cities is a fabulous vision that can involve city planners, environmentalists, health, religious community, business, academic, politicians, press. But you have to use the tools that are available to help all those people come to another level of understanding together. You can use electronic bulletin boards, meetings with graphic facilitators, or other model-developing tools. But you need tools to articulate your own vision and perception, and to find a common vision.