Faster Than 20

experiment platform

More Collisions!

April 2, 2018 – June 1, 2018
By Lance Shields. CC BY 2.0.

How might we...

  • How might we learn more effectively from each other?
    • How might we develop the habit of sharing our learnings with each other more frequently?


More frequent contact will enable us to collaborate more effectively and quickly


Each of us will pair up and check in with each other for one hour/week for eight weeks.


How often did each pair actually check in?

Survey at the end of the experiment:

  • What was valuable about the experience?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What did you learn?


Survey results:

  • Heard back from 8 people representing 6 pairs (out of 11 pairs)
  • Average was about 4 checkins per pair (target was 8). Normal distribution with a high of 6 and a low of 2.
  • 8 people posted on WhatsApp over 8 weeks (April 14-June 7), with 11 takeaways posted

What was valuable?

  • Connection with partner. External sounding board, cross-pollination, cheerleading
  • Referrals and potential partnerships
  • Rare treat to have open conversation with a pre-set agenda
  • Deep conversations around practice
  • In a few cases, timing was challenging
  • Zoom (video) was better than just audio. Face-to-face was best.

Do differently?

  • Possibly assign partners based on compatibility (e.g. geography, timezones, interests, etc.) Or, let people self-organize.
  • One pair really liked the openness, another needed more guardrails. Maybe repeat the framing, emphasize that there are no expected “deliverables” from these conversations, just connection.




  1. Alexa’s team created a WhatsApp group for our #collision experiment. This, in itself, is a bit of an experiment; we’ll see if it encourages sharing / checkin accountability. Jake and Eric said hello on the group, but so far, no other pair other than Rob and me have shared a checkin takeaway.

  2. Finally compiled the responses and some numbers from this experiment:

    • Heard back from 8 people representing 6 pairs (out of 11 pairs)
    • Average was about 4 checkins per pair (target was 8). Normal distribution with a high of 6 and a low of 2.
    • 8 people posted on WhatsApp over 8 weeks (April 14-June 7), with 11 takeaways posted

    What was valuable?

    • Everything!!!!! The insights, mentorship, advice, reading list, rekindling our professional connection from several years ago! I think I’m going to hire one of his students as a full time staff member of my small firm 🙂 I could go on and on — he inspired me to start writing up case studies, reading new literature, etc.
    • The collider was such a profound, but ephemeral event. These sessions have provided a great way to continue to tap into that energy and insights on a sustained basis. It’s a bit like Burning Man decompression events – returning to your regular routine after a transformational experience, you want a way to stay connected with that experience with others who’ve been there. These conversations have a great way to do that.
    • These sessions have also been a great way to have an external sounding board for new ideas. Being paired up with someone who had adjacent but distinct areas of expertise, we’ve been able to continue the cross pollination conversations from the collider and served as both cheer leaders and sounding boards for each others individual projects.
    • Although we only checked in 3 times, talking with my partner was awesome and I always came away intellectually stimulated. This has led to some potential partnership work around analyzing interdependence…. we will see how this evolves but looks promising.
    • It was a rare treat to have stimulating ‘open conversations’ without a pre-set agenda (rather than a “phone meeting)- and then see what emerged.
    • It was great. We met regularly—almost every week. The conversations were inspiring and very fruitful!
    • We had a few calls, but we haven’t put anymore on the calendar. I think the timing was tough with him still being in the academic year. I’d love to continue with another partner if we do another round.
    • What was most valuable was having deeper conversations about big issues of practice – both pain points and inspiring ideas — and they also helped identify and explore core issues that we both experienced (which was a kind of validation).
    • Fascinating conversations about what we’re each doing. Questions we’re both asking about large-scale collaborative change work. Talked about writing something together. He has a special, wonderful spirit — intellectually curious. We both sensed that we could learn a lot from each other. The timing just didn’t work out.
    • Emergent: Anna with Linda: Had an incredible ongoing connection with Linda Booth Sweeney. She was in the next town from me. She invited me to join her book club. Went on walks. That ability to connect in-person was so helpful to form that cohesiveness and glue.

    Do differently?

    • Nothing! I think it worked perfectly. It was light touch enough that it encouraged us to take ownership of it and make it our own! It was just perfect and I’m so grateful for the suggestion and the experience.
    • Nothing jumps to mind. One thing we’ve done that I’d continue to do is to use Zoom as our communication method. Having video vs just audio has made the conversations more human and allowed us to share ideas and documents readily during our chats.
    • I am not sure what I would have done differently, but I am glad that we got to see each other f2f when you came to the community of practice meeting. Video in aid of f2f interactions/relationship is when it works best. If we did not meet in person it might have been something I would have done differently.
    • Maybe would have been helpful to get some kind of guideposts / guardrails for how to do this. Maybe we felt like we had to produce something or that it had to be deep, meaningful, super productive conversations. Maybe it felt more like work than connecting.


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Accountable Eugene
Team Becky-Stuart, Roy-Eric, Rob-Eugene, Sven-Linda, Jonathan-Peter, Darcy-Aubrey, Karen-Jake, Anna-Donata, Jeff-Cat, Lisa-Mathan, Allan-Alexa
Documents Design + Log
Modified February 19, 2019


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