PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: the Health eHeart Alliance
We have had the opportunity to help develop the Health eHeart Alliance from the ground up - from forming an initial collective vision, mission, and values to many years now of evolution in the Alliance's work. We're particularly proud to see how the Alliance is still making decisions rooted in those initial co-created values - a great example of the deep, lasting power of collaboratively designed processes. For more background on this long-running Emergence Collective project, check out this two part blog series by Brooking about our work creating the first patient-powered heart disease research summit, in collaboration with UCSF and the Health eHeart Alliance, and Rebecca's take on designing ourselves out of the work.
You might also peruse this Stanford Social Innovation Review piece on an emerging model for creating breakout innovation, which features the Health eHeart Alliance approach. And if you're still curious: ask Rebecca about the latest developments!
"I usually dread virtual meetings, but I actually enjoy our conference calls for the Health eHeart Alliance. Rebecca and Brooking make each of us feel welcomed, respected and heard. They adjust the agenda based on the needs of the group. They ask for clarifications and definitions so we avoid jargon and acronyms. I wasn't really clear on what their role was when we started, but after a few months it became very clear - Rebecca and Brooking are doing the most to ensure that the patients are heard; much more than the standard 'we are doctors, sit at the table and listen,' approach that I am, unfortunately, accustomed to in physician-patient groups. Leaders in the patient-centered research movement would do well to bring these two in to moderate all their meetings! "
— Patient Rights Advocate, and Health eHeart Alliance member
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Break Free From Plastic US
In 2016, UPSTREAM came to Brooking for support with a convening of environmental NGOs from across the US to try to find ways to work together collaboratively on the shared interest and growing problem of plastic pollution. Brooking designed a strategy retreat for the group of leaders to collectively identify key priority work areas for the year ahead, and subsequently worked with a subgroup of leaders to establish working agreements, governance guidelines, recruitment protocols, and information management practices for ongoing virtual collaborative action. She worked with the group for a few years facilitating virtual and in person meetings and supporting strategic implementation of a number of collaborative projects, and also helped them through a strategic merger with the emerging Global Break Free From Plastic movement as it turned its attention to strategy for US-based actors. This unusually collaborative merger process helped avoid unnecessary duplicative efforts, and helped expand the US effort to include crucial front-line communities impacted by oil and gas and plastic production here in the US.
These days, Brooking plays multiple support role for the movement, including:
- Strategic advisor for US Break Free From Plastic coordination
- Host of The Indisposable Podcast, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of solutions to plastic pollution
- Consultant and coach for organizations within the movement transforming their own culture, collaboration skills, and strategies to meet movement needs
- Facilitator and meeting host
"Brooking is one of the most skilled facilitators and collaboration designers I’ve ever encountered. We had a complex network of actors with different priorities and backgrounds that needed to align around common goals and strategies. She was able to help us design a process to bring everyone on board in ways that were inclusive, engaging, productive and fun. I can’t recommend her enough.”
— Executive Director and lead convener of the Plastic Pollution Prevention Project (now merged with Break Free From Plastic)
“I have to say when you first joined our team I wasn’t sure what value you would be bringing, but now that I’ve seen how much you’ve helped us
function more effectively together, I don’t know what we would have done without you!”
— Program Director with organizational culture change client
"You are my spirit animal."
— Meeting participant after an effective meeting facilitation experience :)
Musings on our Methods
- Tips for Successful Kick-off Meetings (Brooking)
- Designing for Uncertainty with Theory U (Brooking)
- Aligning for Impact in the Funder Community (Rebecca)
- Reflections on Working with Conflict in Groups: What I learned from Dianne Hamilton (Brooking)
Video & Other Media
- Understanding the Drama Triangle in Group and System Dynamics - Brooking and coaching colleague Praveen Mantena created this crash course specifically for team coaching clients on one of the most common and avoidable group pitfalls of human relational dynamics, the 'drama triangle'.
- Check out this informal, impromptu video interview between Brooking and eco-artist Ashley Manzanec on what it means to be a collaboration consultant, and why this work is so needed in the world.