In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
So what is collaboration? I hear people throw the word around often. I find it harder to talk about collaboration than to experience it. I know it when I see it, and I have experienced it in many organizational settings (with the exception of higher education). What I mean by collaboration is real sharing of ideas and working side by side. While I have experienced collaboration in corporate settings, I don’t think the idea has truly landed in higher education because most higher education folks are independent practitioners. The higher education environment promotes and rewards (inadvertently perhaps) “individualistic” accomplishment. The very idea of the tenured faculty is focused on a person, and not the team that helped to make that individual who they are. Publication is sometimes collaborative, but there is always a single individual listed at the top as the “primary” author. And let’s face it, there isn’t much cross-pollination across colleges of business and humanities in universities that I’ve encountered. I’m sure there are exceptions…but they are just that – exceptions. True collaboration requires that unlikely partners who may not be “equals” in status put down the “titles” to share ideas. Sadly, true collaboration is not likely to happen in higher education because faculty, administrators and the lowly staff are rarely created equal. So my question is, will institutions of higher learning survive much less prevail?