Submitted by William on Thu, 02/16/2006 - 22:05.

Hello all, I attended a Cleveland Bridge Builders session today on collaboration.They asked the invited guest what needs to in place to have a successful collaboration. I spoke on two; Honest dialog and Inclusion.

think honest dialog is key. In each collaboration all parties have their personal agendas. Don't be afraid to express the "What is in it for me"

Inclusion is a major problem in this region. I see it too many times, especially with regional collaboration, where certain groups are not invited to the table up front. These groups are usually invited to the table after all the decisions on direction have been made, or some funding issue forces the group to become more inclusive.

What are some of the key elements you think need to be present in a successful collaboration?

( categories: )

Dialog + inclusion + knowing + loving

Knowing and loving. Dialog and inclusion only go so far without trust of people you know. All that can take time, which is one reason there has traditionally been a long path to leadership.


However, now that people move around so much there are fewer old guards at the gates. Where lots of people are transplants, like CA, everyone's a stranger and if you are good you are good. In NEO, people are more home-grown and entrenched so there are more structured pathways like Bridge Builders in place.


Interesting, in my recent experience in Silicon Valley people are becoming more cautious and traditional, while these days in NEO there's a new drive for change and creativity.


Your observations about problems with regional collaboration are just. Bridge Builders, Voices and Choices, Fund For Our Economic Future, are examples of top down, boil the ocean approaches that seem more into command and control than collaborate.


But I know many of the people involved at every level in Voices and Choices and they are as frustrated by aspects of the "collaboration" as you - they are trying to figure out how to get you at the table to help set the direction moving forward.


In considering collaboration = dialog + inclusion + knowing + loving, I think there is much we can all do to increase every factor and the overall outcomes. REALNEO is intended to enable this process - same with CAAO and Bridge Builders. So we need to connect better.


A recent forum at CSU concluded with something like "thirty years from now, today's 20-&-30-somethings will look back on their generation as the one that saved the American Dream or lived through its demise". The forum featured the Director of Economic Opportunity Program at Demos and author of "Strapped, Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead" Tamara Draut, and offered only one hope of a silver lining ahead - the only solutions to what are in fact the world's problems will be found through her generation, the 20-&-30-somethings, becoming move involved in the political process - not just voting but organizing and running for office. Otherwise, the implications are dire. See the write-up at


So, in conclusion, don't wait to be invited to the table. Seek out who you need to know and really get to know each other, pursue dialog that matters, include others in your community and enter the communities of others, and build strong, trusting, supportive relationships. Be bold - the future is in your hands. 

20/30-something civic entrepreneurs needed

Another comment that came up at the forum I mention above, from Civic Innovation Labs (CIL) Director Hannah Fritzman, was that very few 20/30 somethings propose initiatives for funding from CIL - lots of younger people and 40+ but she sees a real void. This void is bad, and organizations like CAAO can help. She asked us to spread the word, so if you know 20/30 something civic entrepreneurs with good ideas, have them check out CIL and reach out at

Re: Civic Innovation Lab

Hello Norm,

Interesting you mention the Civic Innovation Lab.  CAAO has applied to the Civic Innovation Lab 4 times with 4 different projects.  Each time we were turned down.  Every project, including the CAAO Online Silent Executive Auction is now up and running with other community funding.  Some of the comments that came out of why we were turned down include the mentors did not know who CAAO was to that we have the skill to find the money from other sources.  Another of our projects that got turned down by the Civic Innovation Lab is now got interest from the University of Akron and Kent State University to assist in finding funding.  I have to admit my motivation to apply again is gone.

After all of this I still promote the Civic Innovation Lab to other CAAO members. Some have recently been funded which is good.

Same experiences as CAAO with CIL

I've had the exact same experiences, and continue the same way... I know people who have been funded by Civic Innovation Labs and I know it works in its own way so I definitely recommend it to folks, but it is not for everyone, and success depends on connecting with a mentor. Sounds like CAAO is too successful for CIL, which you should celebrate! Perhaps it is time for someone from CAAO to become a CIL mentor.


I can't wait to learn more about your organization.

Voices and Choices


CAAO has recently agreed to host a community forum for Voices and Choices.  Once the details have been worked out I will make sure to add it to the RealNeo calendar.  One thing that was stressed to the consultant from Voices and Choices is that we should not assume everyone who shows up for the forum is for regionalism.  We need to allow folks to freely express their concerns and see if we can come up with solutions.

Cool CAAO is working with Voices & Choices

Very good observations. We're working with some of the Voices and Choices folks to include realneo in the dialog and I see an opportunity for the next phase - community forums - to work very differently than last year, with more ownership at the local level across a more diverse community. I believe this will take the discussions from presentation and command and control to collaboration, with dialog and inclusion. Under those terms, all voices will be recorded and heard.


To not participate is to opt out of planning the future of the region, whether you like regionalism or not. As Tamara mentioned in her presentation "Strapped", the hope for the future of the world depends on 20/30-somethings becoming involved in the "political" process. Well, Voices and Choices is part of the political process, and it's not just up to 20/30-somethings to get involved.


It seems everyone agrees the way Voices and Choices was first deployed did not have sufficient dialog to drive inclusion, and that can be corrected over the next few months. We're doing our part, and it sounds like CAAO is as well. 

Just a small note

Dear Sir,

Let me mention that knowing and loving are living on opposite sides.

The knowing means - what you have, what you have got to give,sell or  gift and we know what exactly you are able to do with that.

The loving means - we do not know what you have, what you have got to give,sell or gift but we believe that you will have intention to give,sell or gift some part of.

Are you feeling the differences?

Knowing-rational matter,loving - irrational, and I am not sure that by knowing we can get loving. That`s why I am not sure that your formula "collaboration = dialog + inclusion + knowing + loving" quit correct..

I think collaboration is matter of knowing what we can give each other and it`s irrelevant when we mention the loving within collaboration.

Best regards


p.s. sorry for my english.

English is excellent - as is your point

Norm's "loving" might be expressed slightly more conservatively as "understanding".    Loving suggests letting your guard down completely - accepting others exactly as they are.  I don't see that as a pragmatic approach - too much vulnerability.   However, I see it critical to understand others, why they do what they do and why they are where they are. For understanding we need connection and interaction.  Along with mutual understanding trust can be built and perhaps then the loving will fall into place.

I'll stand by love, as irrational as that sounds

My k-12 school mission included education in an environment where each student is "known and loved". While we don't often hear the word love associated with education, we should - and that is a message I've seen articulated by parents in the Cleveland school CEO search process... the CEO must love her students and job.


Same goes for entrepreneurship and collaboration - village building - we must build networks that know and love each other, or we will not take risks on each other, invest in each other, introduce each other to our connections  - we only do this with those we really know - the more love is involved to more open the connections. If Berlin can help us "package" this reality and build the love of our networks, that will imporve our community and economy. 

am I correct?

sorry for such vision but I am feeling that you are using love as a tool to creat something strong and firm. Why tool you may ask me. Because without love nobody will take a risk and will is quite interesting opinion. I always thought that having knowing,  intention, purpose we are able to make decision regarding each other. Otherwie having loving we are splashing out what we have for someone, because the loving is irrational even in the business.. Mentioning above I would say that your doctrine takes loving as a rational matter. And it is very interesting point.

Love is a very rational thing

When I think of the origins of collaboration and in fact "business" I see hunting parties and agricultural cooperatives to manage food and water resources on shared lands of many families - villages - some farm while others hunt, or gather water, or defend the community. The practice may have come in response to scarcity - one watering hole for many families - but I'm sure it was also for social purposes of entertainment, mating, companionship, intellectual stimulation, and I idealize it was all based on love of family and then village, both immediate and virtual.

I don't see how things have changed, other than our current American society's denial of the natural yet supernatural importance of love in every life and the well being of our planet. We're great at bioagriculture, and engineering animals, and all sorts of unnatural things, but we tend to shy away from accepting the role of humanity in society..

Berlin is on to something, if she can help people talk about these things... seems to be working so far.  


Norm,  I only have minute, and I need to go back and read over BerlinBerlin and the other comments in this thread to stay right on point, but it seems to me that there are a few ingredients around today which played a smaller part in the water hole society. Money is one of them.  When love gets too far ahead of experience in a relationship, money can become an out of proportion player.   Safeguards?

Pursuing efficiency over usury

Money - capitalism - usury - rust on the gears of creativity and quality-living, causing imperfection in a perfect world. In the immediate future, without money, in the sense of cash, and with all transactions and wealth managed centrally through intelligent systems, people will not need to get a payday loan for 33% interest, or pay 25% in interest to the owners of the football stadium. The world will make a lifelong commitment to you, and you to the world, and there is no need for loan-sharks and usurers in a perfect world.  If you want to argue that the risk to the usurers is so high that it is necessary to charge poor people 25-33% interest, I'll point out that most folks would gladly have an RFID or satellite tracking device implanted in their skin in exchange for a 6% interest rate... add a shocking device and electrocute them more each day they are late on their payment - it would beat being poor. If they can't pay, and can't take the pain, they can come into a central work-out place to get their finances back on track. Perhaps we could even do all that without the elecroshock...

If love is very rational thing

then it should have a measure.

Wow is that cool - love dashboard

You are so right... measures of hate, as well. We are increasingly measured by metrics, like IQ and time to pay a credit card bill, so why not measures of giving, caring, helping and sacrifice, if those are measures of love.... just as betraying, deceiving, and mistreating may be indicators of hate, Benchmarking and mapping such metrics over life will be Earth-changing.


Already, we have data ecosystems growing around us that will enable better understanding of the people around us - our lives are becoming increasingly transparent and will become much more so with rapidly accelerating evolutions in technology.


So, what will be future information, technology, virtual community, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence enabled metrics of love - % of wealth, time and other resources given to charities (further analyzed based on what charities and indicators of your sincerity and commitment), % you tip servers, distribution and quality of time spent with family - metrics of hate may be road rage and aggressive driving, criminal activity, patterns of brutal behavior on the Internet.


It is safe to say that others already track our love and hate metrics - targeted marketing of charity fund-raising seeks the people most likely to have love for their cause, and the entire Homeland Defense strategy is based in finding signs of hate on the Internet. What is missing is public leadership of the transformation of society through technology, for the optimal good of humanity and Earth.


So, think of REALNEO as one source of metrics of love, for NEO and humanity. You can begin building your love score in NEO by showing your willingness togive, care, help and sacrifice through your behavior here. Add value and others will appreciate your participation in the collaboration - the village - and your love metrics will improve in the community.

Dear Norm..

so you are The One who is the metrics of love? :)

We have a great conversation,to  be honest. I like it.

My best wishes

My dashboard has had its ups and downs

I would hope we all keep some dashboard of our degree of love and hate for others and the world - mine has its ups and downs and I've seen the best and worst of myself and others over the years - what is changing these days is our metrics are becoming more transparent, as we participate more in communities through technology. In the past, only your church knew who were the big donors... now we're becoming open books.

if you dashboard had had ups and downs

then logically, in result, it had  an influence on collaboration under your formula collaboration=Dialog + inclusion + knowing + loving. If it is then I would prefer to have a bit another formula collaboration= dialog+inclusion+knowing+intention+purpose. This formula gives me 100% trust and confidence in business ( profit as well as non-profit) partner. It means that I would keep myself a bit away from partner with dashboard, measuring degree of love or hate. Why? Because his dashboard, having up and down indicates his unstability. it is my opinion. 

Is stability a factor?

I believe willingness to change and making good decisions, even if indicating lack of stability by some metrics, indicates ability to learn and openness to accept new information and develop new ideas and interpretations of reality. We don't start life knowing everything so we need to learn along the way. Do we? I want to surround myself with people who do.


An entrepreneur is usually "disruptive" and VCs are always talking about wanting to invest in the next disruptive technology. Disruption and instability seems be related - do we want the stability of one phone company... one religion... one government?


On the other hand, considering intention and purpose is interesting. But how do you measure that?


This makes me think of the metrics I use to analyze websites - ICE...internet communications effectiveness - which looks at Form, Insight, Community, and Purpose in determining the value of the use of Information Technology. There, we look at the mission, clarity of mission, and apparent performance to the mission, vs. purpose - e.g. if an organization says its mission is to enable collaboration, does it use IT to enable collaboration? Does it enable collaboration at all? At least with IT enabled communication, very few organizations translate intent and purpose to value, and so are failing with IT.


In the case of these ICE analyses, we created scoring systems and processes to collect, analyze and maintain related data - the same effort will be required to develop metrics of collaboration. That said, it is easy enough to do. What metrics do you include? Build a large dashboard and include everything you can. How do you use the metrics? Same way you use a dashboard... what's running low - what's overheating - what's overworked - add GIS - keep enhancing the metrics and analyses - just start measuring to be able to start managing. Who provides the metrics - 1,000s... 1,000,000s of sources, contributing infinite data to mine... more every day.

I am afraid we are getting away from matter, but

Is stability a factor? I don`t know, but I am sure if you sit down on wobbly stool or invest money in jumping shares or make your holiday in Colombia or Iraq then you will find an answer in a couple of sec. Believe me.

Starting our life from scratch we have support (food,home,experience and..pocket money,sorry).Supporter. With supporter it is easy to learn everything endlessly. Let me give you some example from history. Karl Marx(ks), communist guru, learnt,studied and created constantly ,having money for living from Engels, who was close friend. Even Engels supported whole family of Marx.

Purpose and intention have no metrics, cos they are metrics) Why? Cos there is no achievment(collaboration) without purpose and intention. No target-no result. It is black and white..isn`t it? So, I believe, Knowing and Loving without intention and purpose are only good hole and gift for faith-hackers:)

My best wishes


creating higher level of knowing trustful collaboration

As you're in London I'm not sure what draws you to this collaboration on collaboration - you are welcome to be included and dialog openly. We love having you here, and will get to know you through your interactions in this community, as you choose. We have no target for your engagement, no expectation of financial dealings, and to intention or purpose for the discussion at all, as it is entirely sponanious, created by another, for his personal reasons. But, the outcome of the collaboration is valuable random knowledge sharing - a better understanding of collaboration, some interesting exchanges of ideas, some relationship building - who knows what any of that may offer. Now we're connected - who knows what tomorrow may bring. But, if we get to know each other well - find a higher level of engagement through our dialog and inclusion... love collaborating - we are much more likely to colaborate further.


On the other hand, I've seen quite a few well intentioned, purposeful collaborations recently end/fail in betrayals of parties by others within the collaborations - everyone involved have clear personal intentions and purposes in common, but did not know and love each other well enough to make sure the collaborations actually worked out for everyone involved, so everyone lost.


In NEO, right now, helping people and their organizations cross over to a higher level of knowing trustful collaboration is the key to really kicking off a turning point in our economy - that is why we are so obsessed about it here! 

..or the loving will not

..or the loving will not fall. Clear example is we have known each other and understood that we cannot take each other and better to say each other "good bye" than sit together trying to stick what " will never be sticked"

Civic Can't Fund Everyone

I wish they could cause they just turned down the Knight Studio Movie Incubator. Still I am gaining support from others (CAAO is a big help). Still, the Lab is a good resource. I had a strategy session with them that was extremely helpful in shaping my proposal.



Alex P. Michaels

Building the Knight Movie Studio Incubator

The funding scene is becoming clearer

You're right, Civic Innovation Labs can't fund everything, and they do an excellent job of assessing each project and providing feedback. Entrepreneurs in NEO have a few distinct routes to explore for funding in non-traditional but clearly structured organizations - each provides excellent feedback and I'm sure make every effort to connect good ideas with resources.


We've been posting on experiences with Civic Innovation Labs, and that is a very unique and successful foundation-funded initiative that provides an excellent place to go with civic minded, innovative ideas, even in very early stages - but they only fund to $30,000 and reply upon a network of mentors to take on projects - if they don't have a good mentor/project match, then it won't fit. I do believe they are looking for more mentors - all the necessary information should be at 


Further up the business development curve, the most established entrepreneurship funding source is JumpStart, which has funded a diverse group of innovative start-up and early stage initiatives and has access to other venture sources. They are only going to accept very well formulated businesses that are likely to grow to over $30 million in revenues within 5 years. I understand the assessment process is rigorous, if you get into the process. To learn more, check out


A more recent funding resource on the scene is Panzica Investments, which was started by Red Room Founder, Thompson Hine attorney Cathy Panzica and her real estate developer husband Tony Panzica, and they are really active - there was a recent Red Room Revolution gathering of YPs (saw you there) where Cathy and associates updated the community on what they are involved with and the scope is immense - I'll write this up more later - but if you have a serious idea or business you think may appeal to a smart, hip, I'm sure ruthless attorney aka VC then I suggest checking this out -


Another contact who always goes out of his way to help out any tech-related initiative find friends and traction in the city is Tech Czar Michael DeAloia - email at mdealoia [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us - he's a great connector both with the city and everywhere in the business community.


The creation of these organizations (and bringing Michael in as Tech Czar) has made a huge difference in the community, in investments and good advice and connections made - none of that existed a few years ago, and they are all really just getting started.


I encourage any entrepreneur to really dive in to meet the people at these organizations - try to find a few champions who can help you identify others - it is critical to leverage as many networks as possible, and their's are especially powerful. You may not find a good fit, but you'll definitely get valuable advice... not always what you want to hear, but perhaps for good reasons.  I've never gotten funding from any organizations like that, or VCs, so I can't say it works for me.


One end note - there is a need for more early stage funding in NEO - $100s millions ASAP - people are working on that and I expect we will see a better flow over the next few years - then, things could really take off. 

Enjoyed the Red Room and its Potential

I did follow up with Cathy and hope to join the Revolution. I enjoyed the energy in the room. It was great to see such a great mix of people. Me and my partner Kristen Kaleal met a lot of people. I had a nice talk with Jane Campbell who had flew in from Boston. I told her I based my character of the Mayor in my TV show after her. The Mayor in my TV show likes to be in the spotlight. Jane got a laugh out of that.


I also made a lot connections there as well. I'm working on some partners for my Studio Expansion.  I saw a lot of familar faces as well and also a few people who I had some connections with.


I agree there are a lot of different funding arenas here. I think it is a matter of finding a good match.



Alex P. Michaels

Building the Knight Movie Studio Incubator

Become VC expert - Virtual Community that is

It will be very interesting to see how the Red Room develops and integrates with all the other initiatives in the region.


It occurred to me, in thinking about what entrepreneurs need to succeed, that the real VC for the typical entrepreneur is not venture capital. Where early stage initiatives get their support (besides credit cards) is friends and family, and the more of both you have, the better (including lawyer brothers, banker uncles, etc...).


Building effective VC - Virtual Community - resources allows you to leverage technology to weave together a mesh of collaborators, allowing individuals to build communities around ideas, projects and initiatives more easily than ever in history. It is very important for entrepreneurs to become expert in this.

You have explained CAAO's value

Hello Norm,




I agree with you 100%.  You have actually explained CAAO's value in the community. CAAO doesn't have money to give to folks or spend its time helping folks develop business plans or marketing plans.  There are plenty of organizations in NEO who already do this.  CAAO's value is helping African American entrepreneurs build their Virtual Communities.  An example of this was at the Cavs game on Friday.  During the pre-game reception and the game I spent my time talking to all the entrepreneurs in attendance.  Then I started matching them with people they should know.  I actually didn't get to sit down and watch the game until the 4th quarter :)  One of the things I would like to do this year is teach entrepreneurs not only how to build their own virtual communities but help develop others virtual communities.  June Holley calls it Network Weaving.  I am hoping to have June come and speak at a CAAO meeting.

Driving the network weaving impact

I love the term and visual of network weaving - weaving of our social and economic development related networks in NEO - offers great breakthroughs... I see more examples of this behavior and good results all around this community every day... weaving collaborations of dialogue + inclusion + knowing + loving + intent + purpose, creating entirely new dimensions of interaction offering outcomes not otherwise possible.


More and more networks are developing and using social computing to transform how people in this community interact, here and with the world, and that is raising the sophistication of our population with social computing. The next step is to better weave how organizations use technology across organizations and the region, in the best interest of all stakeholders.


Too often organizations view members - stakeholders - as private assets... the value of the director's rolodex. Organizations have tended to operate in silos and control access to data based on the organization's intents and purpose, without any dialogue and little inclusion (opt out or opt in). Few networks (or participants) have ever contemplated the data interests of stakeholders, other than to perhaps view their directory data as the organization's to sell (e.g. selling fundraising lists to other organizations or brokers).


As the population becomes more technologically sophisticated, intellectual property concepts mature, and the Internet stratifies into segregated higher and lower value/cost/benefit communities, discriminating community members will migrate to high value environments and services that value individual's rights, preferences and property.


As we weave networks and so stakeholders together using Information Technology, we must now consider who owns what relationships and data -  if we accept the individual owns his/her identify and data, we will offer the higest possible value community for NEO.


    You are right about this Norm.  I think it is the rare organization, at least in this area, that has even considered that their members might have data interests themselves - I am giving you my name and info, but when I want to access the database of which my info makes up a part, I am told it is not for "public" consumption.  Now I know that there is power in numbers - ref. unions, or class actions, or Spartacus for that matter, but if we're going to move to the top of this information economy, organizations had best learn the value of their individual members' rights, preferences and property, or we are going to be held back as a region.  Valdis has taught us the value of the person placed at a network node; this person cannot help coming up with new ideas. Organizations don't have ideas, people do. In this new network economy no individual is captive to a provincial audience.  If a member finds respect lacking in one orgainization, he/she can move with a click to another continent if necessary.

Technology enables more effective networks

I think you're right in that most organizations have not contemplated the impacts of social networks on their business, communications and future, and it is no wonder - we're working with leading edge technology and most organizations do not have much experience deploying social networks.


For typically underfunded, small organizations to meet the technology demands of members is very diffidult, and it will only get worse. End users already expect interactive capabilities, and rapid technology evolution will accelerate demand for innovative applications - podcast - streaming audio and video - realtime audio and video - videoconferencing - VoIP.


Individuals should be able to leave a social network at any time.

Who owns the data base?

Norm,  you have raised a very important question.  Many organizations' data is their lifeblood or an avenue for fundraising - their very financial survival counts on it.  How would you address this concern?

The individual must own their data and opt into networks

The way things work with realneo, and the drupal technology, individuals opt into open networks, giving them content management, communication and collaboration capabilities, and any data the create remains associated with the individual - your blog - your qoutes - your images - and if you choose to delete your account you take everything with you. So, individuals have complete control and ownership of all their data.


Terms of use should specify how if at all any of the individuals' data may be used by anyone else associated with the network. Is anyone allowed to buy the data - mailinglist - statistics? In the case of realneo, we allow everyone who registers in the network to have access to other members posted content, and the technology allows members to communcate, but the system does not make public any personal contact information. The individuals always have control over their own data and user profile information and may delete any and all content - it is their data - and they may delete their own account and cease to exist entirely.


In the case of a member organization, the members should agree to membership terms, which should specify exactly how the members' data may be used. I'll be different for every organization.