The Development of “Thought Communities”

The Insightful Research of Dr. Vera John-Steiner on Critical Thinking and Collaboration

One path to the development of a shared narrative is through the development of “thought communities” that make creative exploration possible, which is presented by  Dr. Vera John-Steiner in her book, CREATIVE COLLABORATION (2000); a study of successful collaboration of notable partners and groups, some in face-to-face interaction and others in distance interaction. The result of her examination is that:

“…humans come into being and mature in relation to others, new skills are acquired, participants develop previously unknown aspects of themselves,  and they increase their repertory of cognitive and emotional expression.”

This requires “fully articulated and shared goals, a safe place for creative exploration, and unimpeded trust.”

And it thereby eliminates “uncertainty, competition, hierarchies, bureaucracies, intellectual ownership, financial dependence, inequity, separation and emotional disconnectedness.”

With these “relational dynamics” in place, “thought communities collaborate with an intensity that can lead to a change in their domain’s dominant paradigm…..pressing each participant’s perceived limits of human potential.”

In other words, she suggests that the atmospherics that eliminate impediments to trust can: (i) empower participants to transcend and reshape dominant paradigms that pose obstacles to creative exploration and, (ii)  bring to the surface new perspectives and shared narratives.