Transboundary Collaboration

Transpartisan Politics is about bridging partisan divides or boundaries.  Transboundary Collaboration applies to convening, connecting, conversing, coordinating and collaborating across all kinds of boundaries; cultural, geographic, economic, professional, sectoral, political, religious, class, gender, race, age, ….. all boundaries.

Transboundary collaboration falls into the intersecting fields of generative communication/interaction/conversation, social innovation and transformation, structures for high performance fullfilment (implementation/execution/manifesting).  The National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) is one of several communities where “process” people are working together to advance the art, science and spirit of collaborative process design.  I would assert that we have many excellent process tools and techniques for meaningful and practical meetings, gatherings, conferences and engagement initiatives.

Generative Process Design
More processes need to be invented but many pieces are in place and the main push is to be creative in how they are combined, integrated and customized to support interactions that lead to achieving outstanding results.   The opportunity is mainly in being innovative about the integration of the profound and the practical.   Now that advanced dialogue and deliberation methods have been refined and proven the opportunity is about imbuing the profound dialogue,  deliberation and bridging  processes (for meaning and relationship building interaction) with the practical decision, coordination and implementation processes (for practical performance oriented interaction).  I call this work of  creative integration of profound and practical processes….  Generative Process Design.

Generative Process Design+Transboundary Collaboration
My sense is that we have entered the time where bridging boundaries and integrating processes is the work at hand,  the place for an evolutionary leap in social and transformational process/technology.  This needs to happen for all manner of conferences, conventions, summits and symposia.   Transboundary Convening is the difficult and key arena where a breakthrough is needing to happen.  So much of how we gather, connect and coordinate is within boundaries, special interests, tribes, and the like.  That isn’t wrong but it is not sufficient when it comes to working collaboratively to co-create breakthroughs on complex issues that concern our common good and well-being.   So we need to bring those who were in opposition together to find common ground and concerns on which they can work on in coordination and even in the spirit of partnership.
This is very important but not the end of the story.  The larger business of integrating the multitude of conferences and conveners that are not well connected, but should be, for the sake of not duplicating effort, wasting energy and for finding synergy, effectiveness and optimal impact/accomplishment.  This macro integration of conferences over a long period of time I have dubbed…..  Integral Forum Design.

Integral Forum Design
This concept takes us to the macro, long term version of the integration/connection of existing conferences leading up to a specially designed “conference of conferences” and supported between events by teleconfernece, video confernece, local meetings, email, on-line social networking and project/team management sites.
  • The Integral Forum Design concept is about intentionally connecting conveners, conferences and other conversations (on-line and in-person) into an on-going, progressive (building over time) and integrated forum that produces breakthrough connections, collaborations, and creative solutions that weren’t going to happen otherwise.  This concept addresses the need to advance the art and science of “convening” and a recognition that innovation is now needed in the connection and integration of convenings and conveners over time.  The current practices and processes for how we “formally” come together to solve our problems is insufficient to the magnitude of the challenges and opportunities we must address for our common good.
  • If we are going to create a better world we have to do a better job at making connections, engaging in healthy conversations and collaborating effectively to meet the challenges and opportunities of this complex, fast changing world.  One place to get to work is to advance the art and science of generative convening, connections, conversations, collaboration and change initiatives.  The  purpose of the Integral Forum Design concept is to look at the connection of multiple conferences and conveners into an innovative and integrated meta-forum that happens over an extended period of time (measured in years for the most part).
  • I/Walt am developing a coalition of  creative people and organizations that will offer this new convening and forum design service.   In this case the “Forum” is not attached to a specific place or a one time event.  The Integral Forum Design concept is instead focused an on-going marketplace of ideas and conversation, formal and informal, face to face and on-line, and conducted through existing gatherings/mediums and through specially designed gatherings and processes.
  • First and foremost  Integral Forum Design is a neutral convener with the sole purpose of providing the conditions necessary for generative connections, conversations, coordination and collaboration.  The Integral Forum Design framework includes:
  1. An integral or whole system perspective for both who is in the conversation and for how we look at the challenges/opportunities.
  2. A future vision and outcomes orientation that keeps us clear about what the desired future looks like in concrete terms and measures.
  3. An appreciation for both formal and informal/self organizing opportunities.
  4. Making essential connections within a specific issue/topic area among people, organizations and projects that need to be made but aren’t.
  5. Making essential connections between issue/topic areas among people, organizations and projects that aren’t being made but must be for a complete and powerful solution.
  6. A process design that fosters generative conversations across the spectrum of dialogue, deliberation, debate and decision making.
  7. Personal and interpersonal capacities for civil and creative conversations will be a key element in the process design.
  8. Purpose. goals and guidelines will be emphasized so that participants are empowered to self and co-generate without needing extraordinary guidance or facilitation and thus fostering greater ownership and sustained engagement.

From NCDD: Integral Forum Design Intends to Maximize these Intended Outcomes

Defining our terms is always fun / helpful.

  • Integral: 1) of, pertaining to, or belonging as a part of the whole; constituent or component: integral parts.  2) necessary to the completeness of the whole.  3) consisting or composed of parts that together constitute a whole.  4) entire; complete; whole.
  • Forum: 1) the public square or marketplace of an ancient Roman city or town, where legal and political business was conducted  2) a law court; tribunal  3) an assembly, place, radio program, internet site for the discussion of public matters or current questions 4) an opportunity for open discussion.
  • Design To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent.  To formulate a plan for; devise. To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form. To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect.  To have as a goal or purpose; intend.   To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.
The Transboundary Forum
We are formulating a pilot project called the Transboundary Forum, planned to have a 10 year life (continuing if desired) and intended to provide the framework, connectivity, processes and structures needed to connect many conferences into a more aligned and integrated whole.  A Conference of Conferences is being formulated to begin a learning by prototyping process of research and development for and within the framework of the Transboundary Forum.   We are working to make connections among conferences and there convening organizations by offering:
  • Framing, purpose and theme weaving,
  • Cross participation/presentations,
  • Participation in convening a special Conference of Conferences
  • Light facilitation and support of on-going connection and collaboration where the energy is high through
  1. Conference calls, video conferences (and web-meeting supported when appropriate)
  2. Local meetings (where appropriate)
  3. Regular email (and Google Wave when it is out of Beta)
  4. Popular social networking (SN) sites like Facebook and Wiser Earth when that makes sense and/or
  5. Organizational networking and collaboration “Ning” like SN sites like those of the Transpartisan Alliance , World Cafe, or NCDD sites and/or
  6. Project coordination sites/tools such as Basecamp and FMYI for more structured and formal collaborative initiatives and projects.
Whole Systems Solution Summit Concept
We have been working with the Co-Inteligence Institute on this concept and here is their blurb with links.

WHOLE SYSTEM INITIATIVE: The Co-Intelligence Institute has recently designed a Whole System Initiative and is currently in the R&D phase. Our underlying inquiry for this big picture project is “How do we generate the wisest and most coherent voice of the whole that will be viewed as legitimate by society as a whole?” The initiative — which currently envisions both citizens and stakeholders in deliberations and creative choice-creating — is designed to build society’s capacity to deal wisely with challenges and opportunities through recurring strategic conversations about major public issues while simultaneously revitalizing democracy. We are currently talking to other visionaries and leaders who share this focus and are keeping our eyes open for synergistic collaborations. If you have questions about this project or know of an individual, organization, or project that has a related interest, please contact our project manager, Lyn Bazzell, at

Keypad Polling
Walt Roberts
I am board member of The Performance Center, a partner of Transformation Systems International and on the core team of the Transpartisan Alliance.  I’ve had extensive experience working with groups, institutions and communities that are working  to generate their future together strategically, intentionally and collaboratively. I offer innovative and often unique approaches to the design and orchestration of alliances, coalitions, forums, conferences, keypad polling assisted deliberation and decision making, citizen engagement processes, and generative change initiatives.  I am one of the inventors of the Integral Forum Design concept.

(Scroll to the end of this page for my Contact Information)

The Services I provide:

  • Breakthrough Meetings with Keypad Polling; Overcoming the normal limits of  large-group process with the purposeful and expert use of electronic, audience response, keypad polling technology
  • Sourcing Circles and Collaborative Design Services; Bringing transformation, sourcing/presencing, and generative  frameworks and processes to the work of any collaborative design team  as they co-create any dialogue and deliberation process, event, meeting, summit, change initiative, alliance development and/or coalition building
  • Generative Process Design, Orchestration and Facilitation; Frame, theme, purpose and process design, orchestration and facilitation for strategic planning meetings, conferences, summits, town halls, public hearings,  open houses, community meetings and all sorts of large-group dialogue, deliberation and decision making events
  • Transboundary Convening Design; Special services and tools for bringing disparate and divided groups together to find common ground, build bridges and forge unlikely partnerships.
  • Alliance and Coalition Design, Facilitation and Development; Applying generative process services to the creation of more formal and enduring entities.
  • On-Line Networking, Information Sharing and Collaboration Integration; Identifying and implementing the right set of (existing, popular and usually free) internet based spaces, services and tools to work in concert with face to face meetings and vice verse.
  • Integral Forum Design;  Connecting, integrating and aligning  multiple conveners and conferences over time to make critical connections within and between topic “silos” (all of the previously described services come in to play for this).

Follow Waltsearch on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: