Had a great evaluation with Lorna who gave me 5s straight down the evaluation. Having struggled a bit in her class back in winter 2017, but it not mattering because I was taking it P/NP, doing well on this project for someone I so respect has been particularly rewarding, and a bit vindicating. She had no constructive criticism to offer, but we talked about some particular strengths including my (theoretical/academic) background in public participation, creative thinking, and my expertise in training design. She particularly emphasized this last strength, saying how impressed she is with the deep intentionality I put into every aspect of my program design.
Finally, on her evaluation she jotted down “collaborative” and then a big smiley face. At this point that word is an inside joke. Much like sustainability, collaborative is a concept and word that is all the rage. It is also one of the types of public participation listed on the IAP2 Spectrum (see below). And, of course, that means that everyone wants to believe they are doing said type of P2, but in reality true collaboration is really hard. The goal of the collaborate type of P2 is “to partner with the public in each aspect of the decision,” and the promise is that “we will look to you for advice and innovation and incorporate that into the decision to the maximum extent possible.” Each aspect, look to you, and, especially, maximum extent possible are not light words coming from a government agency and certainly don’t match up with a P2 plan that includes a bunch of open houses, outreach materials in Spanish, and maybe an online survey before the expert planners ultimately recommend a decision that is adopted by political leaders. But everyone wants to be collaborative these days, and maybe if they say they are doing it for long enough they will actually figure out how to do it, then maybe we will have a government that truly collaborates with its constituents. Until then though, I know that Lorna appreciates the depth of what it takes to really be collaborative, so I will take it as a very strong compliment.