The more we collaborate, the luckier we get

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 10 February 2017 1:35 PM CAT

My business partner uses the following phrase ad nauseam, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” It sometimes sounds like a pretty dumb phrase, but it’s actually true. Collaboration is about ‘what you don’t know and what others do know’ and how knowledge is pooled to make stuff better. And as you collaborate, not only will knowledge around the project grow exponentially, but so will your luck. Ours certainly has.

 Image: Cangro 

A short while ago we created A Better Africa, a digital collaborative hub dedicated to education across the continent. Over the past year, we’ve met and collaborated with those engaged in literacy programmes, chess initiatives, soccer and rugby programmes, teen entrepreneurship programmes etc. When we set out on this journey our vision was the 21st   Century African child who is numerate, literate, has coding as a language and is globally competitive within peer groups.

Both our learnings as a team and knowledge into the platform has been exponential. Each initiative brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience and because of our philosophy of collaboration, sharing is done with generosity. The interesting thing is that we have not signed one non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Trust is the bedrock of the collaborative era and NDAs are an unnecessary redundancy.

Just last week we met up with the team from, a beautiful initiative that takes recycled paint cans into schools with ready-to-plant tomato seeds, that grow upside down. Groups of children are sponsored to receive their upside-down tomato plants and over a 4-week period, they not only see their plants grow but learn about photosynthesis, soil, nutrients and more. What we’ve learnt from Cangro is that there is so much more meaning to these simple tomato plants where some aspects of teacher engagement can be measured, where parent involvement is assessed, where an early passion for agriculture can be spotted and more.

We collaborate with programmes like these every day on our various platforms. As we grow our own understanding we can feel ourselves getting luckier and luckier. There is nothing about collaboration that can be parochial or blinkered. Try and see how lucky you can get. 

Janice Scheckter is a collaboration activist and a director of A Better Africa.






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