NonZeroSum is a training resource for engaging researchers on the topic of collaboration. I developed it between November 2010 and April 2011, following a successful bid for funding from the Vitae Innovate 2010 programme. The programme was looking for innovative projects and research to help support researchers – postgraduate researchers and/or research staff – and I thought that my idea of a facilitated game that lead to discussions on collaboration, released under a Creative Commons license, was an innovative approach to an under-represented area in skills training for researchers.
NonZeroSum is a series of tasks that two teams aim to complete within a very short time; during the process they’re asked to also reflect on their progress and on what collaboration means for them. Following a short debrief on the game aspect of the session, a facilitator can lead discussion in any number of ways that are appropriate to the cohort and time available. NonZeroSum can also be used as an icebreaker session, leading into a much longer workshop programme.
The NonZeroSum resources were intended to be low cost for people to use and adapt; the participant briefs, facilitator notes and guide for running a session are freely available from this page.
- NonZeroSum Outline.pdf – download this pdf if you want to run the NonZeroSum session. This is a 50 page guide, containing all of the handouts, participant briefs and facilitator cheat sheets to run a game on collaboration.
- NonZeroSum Adaptable.odt – download this if you’re looking to adapt the NonZeroSum resources for your own institution. The file is in the Open Office .odt format, and is the same as the pdf but open for editing.
- NonZeroSum Feedback and Outputs.pdf – this file is a compilation of the qualitative feedback that was submitted by participants and observers of the pilots, as well as a selection of some of the creative outputs from the sessions. This might be useful to know what to expect in terms of outcomes for participants.
Note that the NonZeroSum resources have been updated in some ways from the version that was used in the pilots.
NonZeroSum is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License; this means that you are free to use, adapt (or remix) and distribute the resources under that conditions that
- you acknowledge me and my original work appropriately, and the work of anyone else who might have developed it before you did;
- any adaptation or distribution is purely non-commercial, i.e., no selling;
- any adaptation or distribution is released under the same license as the original resources.
So please, download these resources! Use them! Adapt them! Share them! Get researchers thinking about collaboration and how they can be more collaborative in their work. If you use them and have time, please let me know how you used them and pass feedback to Vitae who funded their development.