My family provided the unit of collaboration needed to operate within the chaotic political structure of Peru during the first two decades of my life. The home and the family business, a mechanic garage, were our platforms for collaboration. Administrative roles were rigid while domestic roles were flexible. For instance, in the mechanic garage my mother solely administered financial operations, my father was in charge of staff, and my brother and I performed cleaning and staff support tasks. Administrative and domestic chores were essential contributions to the family’s economic health. In the middle of a sea of chaos and uncertainty, the home and the mechanic garage represented the boat that was going to take us to firm land, and we were all in the same boat. Hope was the glue that held together my family as a unit of collaboration.
An architectural project team provided the unit of collaboration needed to operate within the competitive business environment of Dallas, Texas during my mid twenties. The architectural project structure was the platform for collaboration. The division of labor was ultimately based on cost to the project. For instance, a project team usually consisted of one expensive manager, a couple of moderately expensive coordinators and several affordable team members, like me. Accomplishing tasks on time was essential to the firm’s economic health. A set of predetermined paths for professional success steered my relationship with the project team. Money was the glue that held together the architectural project team as a unit of collaboration.
Today I am working with a team of people that provides a potential unit of collaboration needed to take a stand on the challenge of inequitable development around the world. A plethora of platforms for collaboration, such as comprehensive community-based development projects and academic activities are emerging in our work place: CoLab. The division of labor is mischievously creative. For instance, we enjoy the freedom to avail ourselves of a diverse array of personal and professional resources to accomplish our project goals and our own goals. Relationships are essential contributions to our emotional and economic health. Faced with many uncertainties: the future of our nation, the future of our nascent organization, our own professional future, what will be the glue that holds us together as a unit of collaboration?