The Art of Collaboration

A man points out packaged foods spread out at a booth to a group of children.


Collaboration is a way individuals, groups or organizations work together to address matters they agree are important. They may disagree about why some specific matter is important, but they agree the whole issue is best addressed by partnering together.


Collaboration is about doing more together than any of us can do alone. 

Important aspects of collaboration often include:

  • Building the capacity to get things done on the ground or in communities.
  • Seeking meaningful, two-way dialogue aimed at learning and sharing information.
  • Leveraging differences--different strengths, different knowledge, different power--on behalf of the group, rather than dwelling on those differences.
  • Allowing equal participation even when there are differences in power, authority, and responsibility.
  • Focusing on finding common ground and, most importantly, on a willingness to live with and learn from the eventual decision.

However, it is important to remember that collaboration does not transfer government authority nor the authority of other participants

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Important Questions When Forming a Collaborative
This document provides a list of questions to help when forming a new collaborative effort.

Collaboration Toolbox
This is a toolbox containing resources surrounding several key areas of collaboration, including: Designing and Forming a Collaborative Effort; Meeting Design and Management; Electronic Tools; Learning and Adjusting; and Telling Your Story.

Collaboration Case Studies
Collaborative efforts can take many forms, and while there are best practices, it is also helpful to learn from specific examples of successful efforts: how they formed, who was involved, how they governed themselves, etc.

Collaboration and Partnership Training
This suite of training modules has been created to inspire you and demonstrate the power of working in collaboration and partnership to achieve the Forest Service mission of caring for the land and working with people.


After Action Review Overview

An After Action Review (AAR) is a simple, quick tool for quickly assessing what happened during an activity and whether any lessons from it would help in the future.

After Action Review Worksheet

This worksheet guides participants through the After Action Review process.


Collaboration: Getting Started

This brief primer will help new collaboration efforts get off on the right foot.

Tool: USFS Handover Memo

The handover memo is a template for staff to use when changes in leadership occur and a smooth transition is needed between current Agency leadership, partners, and new leadership.