The power of collaborative solutions, by tom wolff

The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities

Published by Jossey Bass/John Wiley in February of 2010.

Forward by Neal Peirce – nationally syndicated columnist

The Power of Collaborative Solutions is timely—because we need solutions to serious social problems now. The collaborative process is innovative because it includes the full broad spectrum of community members, offering methods of rediscovering democracy and of educating and empowering all citizens to be capable participants in their personal and community lives.

The book is the culmination of thirty years of community work and combines key principles for success, with tools and stories.

This book, like the work it encourages, is based on a broad and deep vision of community. I hope that in these pages

  • Grassroots leaders will find both encouragement and methods they can use to address community issues.
  • Community residents will discover the inspiration to tackle the local issue that they have been mulling about, whether that is building a new playground, reducing violence, improving the schools, or finding a way to help and be helped by the isolated elderly members of their neighborhood.
  • Professionals in the helping system will be encouraged to address the dysfunctions in that system and to make their existing coalitions far more effective and enjoyable.
  • Community problem solvers will see the strengths of a collaborative approach and will find new tools to help them reach their goals.
  • Anyone who designs systems for communities will see the urgency of working across “silos,” thinking of the community as a vital whole rather than an assembly of parts.
  • Teachers and students will encounter principles, stories, and tools to invigorate their classes and keep their ideals alive when they take theory into the real world.

There is a strong spiritual component to my journey and to the work of community collaboration. Seeking collaborative solutions calls on us to engage communities with acceptance and appreciation, to work with various groups with deep compassion, and ultimately to understand our deep interdependence on each other. When we pursue our spiritual purpose in this work we come to understand that indeed we are one, and that we can do together things we cannot do apart.

(excerpt from The Power of Collaborative Solutions)

Wow!  This is an amazing book, and I literally couldn't stop reading...not something one normally says about a book by a professional in any field! 

This  is a truly transformative book, and a "must read" for anyone concerned with overcoming the limits of the possible through collaborative action.  Tom Wolff crafts a path to change that is at once visionary and achievable.  Interweaving poignant stories and hard facts, he reminds us of what’s at stake – and shows us the dramatic difference we can make by committing to bold new visions of collaboration and community.

Meredith Minkler, Professor of Health and Social Behavior,  University of California, Berkeley and co-author of Community-based Participatory Research for Health (Jossey Bass, 2008)

"If you want to bring about sustained positive change in your community, read this book. The stories will inspire you, and the lessons will shine a light on your leadership path."

Tyler Norris, Founding President, Community Initiatives

Why collaborate? Because that's how to make change, now and in the future.

Here you'll find not just theory, but also the hard-won, down-to-earth detail on how to make collaboration work where you live and act.

If you are a practitioner or academic looking to energize and strengthen your collaborative skills, Tom Wolff's The Power of Collaborative Solutions will pay dividends many times over.

Bill Berkowitz, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell

“Tom’s passion for social justice is equaled only by his courage and commitment to progressive causes. Tom has a tremendous fount of knowledge and he knows just what to do with it and how to help others use it. He makes quick connections to practice and research and vice versa. His kind and commonsensical manner means that his intellect is accessible.”

Linda Bowen, Institute for Community Peace

Washington DC

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