Better Together — How we do this …
November 16, 2016
I’ve used the tag line “Better Together” for the last several years as a way of expressing a benefit of member participation in the WSJ Society. My use came after reading the book “Better Together: Restoring the American Community” by Robert Putnam and Lewis Feldstein and published in 2003. The idea is really simple, by investing in each other we become better individually and as a society. It’s a matter of working together to improve the quality of our lives and those in our community. That message fits for me as motivation for the WSJ Society.
In her message, “Forward Together'” Dr Kristina Ropella, Dean of Engineering talked about the value of diversity of viewpoints, that “…collaboration always yields more impactful solutions to difficult problems than what any individual can provide.”
She went on to hit the strength of individual contributions and related it to music “…a diverse collection of musicians, each playing from his or her sheets of notes. Yet, when combined, these distinct parts produce a magnificent sound that moves hearts and minds beyond what’s possible with any single instrument.”
A few months ago, I had a similar discussion with my son Phil, a musician by degree, now a Biological Informatician at the University of Illinois, Urbana. His career has been all about working with others, collaborating to innovate, to create something new for others to enjoy.
He referred me to a 1988 study published in Communication Research entitled: “Jazz as a Process of Organizational Innovation” (click on the link to read the paper). The study describes how jazz musicians, with some level of shared knowledge and skills, and a few general rules of jazz music, can come together to create something new, great music, that’s never been heard before. In the process, each member gets to shine in the lead; each member respects and supports the others; together creating something fantastic.
In addition to his work, Phil coaches soccer like that and has both boys and girls teams at University High School, loaded with students eager to get in on the action.
My point in bringing this up is that going forward, the direction at WSJSociety.com going forward will be to promote our collaborative sharing of experiences, challenges, enjoyments, and lessons learned as the central focus. That seems to be the outcome of our Update Project.
I do want to thank those who have offered their thoughts on WSJSociety.com. Some said that it is hard to find the site, others that it is at times hard to find information. Some members have thanked me for a story or resource reference they liked. Some members have made connections; a few more have submitted questions and comments in the Newsfeed or Group/Open Forum.
Thank-you all. Let’s meet and talk about things in the Group/Open Forum. Members will need to login. It’s easy, but let me know if you need help.
We will all benefit by more of that … people making connections, asking questions, sharing comments, helping each other along; enjoying each other and the entire process of doing it. That’s something I can spend time and effort on … our investment in each other … how we will be doing this.
We are better together,
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