Project date: 1992
Full title: Catalyzation of New Patterns of Collaboration: Using a PC-based Structural Outliner as an Imaging Scaffold. This project proposal was made to the Collaborative Studies Competition of the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.
It aimed to facilitate the ability to envisage viable configurations of functions based on structures more complex than those reinforced by hierarchical organization charts. It also aimed to respond to the need for potential collaborators to design "conceptual keystones" essential to the coherence and viability of unforeseen coalition possibilities in difficult situations of governance.
The project focus was on the creation or modification of computer software for which a database would then be developed in collaboration with a number of bodies. These tools would then be used to provide a "catalytic context" from which new patterns of group and institutional action could emerge. The principal output would not therefore be any form of "report" but rather a piece of software (possibly a prototype). It would have been the dissemination of this software, ultimately through commercial channels, which would have enabled many people to explore the tool as a "collaboration enhancing" device. In this sense the real output of the project would have been new forms of collaboration.
The project's claim to originality was in its ability to open up (and mid-wife) new and alternative patterns of collaboration, especially across discipline, faction and cultural boundaries. In creating this device, the purpose of inter-institutional collaboration would have been to enrich its scope, as represented by the database, and explore opportunities it opened up, specifically in relation to institutional arrangements for sustainable development.