I just invented a new word in another blog I write, Edufutures, http://edufuturing.wordpress.com.

The word is Trilaboration. I created this word to contrast against COllaboration. Collaboration connotes two groups or persons working together . In this case I used TRIlaboration to speak of three groups.

What I’ve done, and how it applies in our conversations about Schools – As – Systems – Organizations (SASAO) is press the premise of laboration, which I guess is another new word I have created. Laboration’s root is clearly in “work”. The CO and the TRI are prefixes that tell us about the number(s) of groups or individuals who are working together.

Trilaboration insofar as SASAO is concerned? Here this applies best to Senge’s Team Learning Discipline, one of his five that he identifies, the others being Shared Vision, Mental Models, Personal Mastery, and Systems Thinking.

Team Learning is what it sounds like. It is about the need for the Learning Organization, or in our case the SASAO, to foster skills where the group or the team can learn not only HOW to work together but also how to be effective together. Simply putting a group of folks or workers who may even have similar jobs or work responsibilities in a room does not necessarily mean that that group has any clue about how to effectively improve the overall Learning Organization.

How many “committees” or “task forces” have you been on that produced virtually nothing?

Follow this line of thinking more concretely. A Learning Organization needs the collective brain power and experiences to continuously dialogue among stakeholders so that it can foresee and deter problems, solve present problems, and create new processes and procedures to improve what they do.

When a team does this well it is a self empowering collective and effective unit, a major tool in the arsenal of continuing improvement for the SASAO. But when it is not, when the SASAO neither knows how to nor even cares to learn how to use inquiry-based analytical and creative practices it becomes an Organizational Tower of Babel.

This post we will begin a series of conversations about Team Learning and firstly concentrate on the human relations aspect of any kind of ….laboration.  We will also examine Lencioni’s “5 Dysunctions of a Team” as a basis for conversation.

Always remember, the human relations dimension of Team Learning only has value when it is factored in tandem with analytical tools needed to make Team Learning elevate past coalescence and cohesion up to effectiveness and long-range sustained planning.

Trilaboration insofar as SASAO is concerned is about the both and the skills of the organization’s stakeholders to work together both in the human relations component AND in their collective skills to think analytically and creatively.

For that matter Trilaboration might better be substituted for with MULTIlaboration. Don’t you think?