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Reciprocity: The Non-Zero Sum

At the National Community College Center for Civic Engagement May 2010 Conference Mursalata Muhammad's presented most of these ideas during the pre-conference session: Reciprocity: The Non-Zero Sum Protocol for Socially Innovative Partnerships.

Mursalata Muhammad

on 1 September 2013

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Transcript of Reciprocity: The Non-Zero Sum

Reciprocity: The Non-Zero Sum *protocol for Socially Innovative Partnerships
act upon a heightened sense of responsibility to our various communities
by participating in a wide range of activities that
develop civic sensitivity
build civil society
indentify and benefit the common good
Integrated Process
Partnerships are made up of
Now develop the best set of
Protocols for YOUR institution.
For example, here is my list:

1. Reciprocity
2. Meaningful Service
3. Diversity & Pluralism & INCLUSION
4. Voice
5. Curriculum Design
6. Reflection
7. Co-Education
2009 CCNCCE Presentation:
These INDIVIDUALS come from
Our institutions bring individuals together to do work designed to make communities better. Our partnerships have good intentions.

But there can be something missing...
We want and need our partnerships
to do more than focus on their own
community issues (aka: Me syndrome that
works from zero-sum perspectives)
We want our partnerships to
see themselves involved in
an inter-connected equation:
Other communities
SOCIALLY INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS in which Reciprocity is the foundational protocol to get work done (aka: We syndrome that works from non-zero sum perspectives)

with RECIPROCITY as our universally applied NON-ZERO SUM protocol, we can get this partnership
to work -
in tandem &
like building a dream
team of individuals like these

Sure our partnerships may
look the same be they are
Zero Sum: describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the gains or losses of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.

Cutting the cake example: taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others.

In contrast,

Non-Zero Sum: describes a situation in which interest overlap and depend on each other. One persons' gain/win need not lead to another's loss. Instead, gains and losses are agregated; there is no need for the sum to be zero.

Robert Wright explains, in his book Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny:
Nonzero demonstrates that natural selection results in increasing complexity within the world and greater rewards for cooperation. The realization of such prospects is dependent upon increased levels of communication, cooperation, and trust (aka reciprocal relationships).
NonZero in Action
Robert Wright
Bill Clinton Interview
So how do we move our institutional partnerships
to work as socially innovative entities?
Finalize protocols
with key stakeholders and
researched best practices
Offer this process to partnerships through various avenues to make sure everyone speaks a common language.

THEN - Orient key stakeholders-
* Students
* Community Partners
* Faculty
* Administrators
* Staff

Orientation methods I have experienced:
* 2 hour student orientation that included logistics with follow up in the classroom if students were enrolled in a service-learning course or with the department of experiential learning

* 1/2 day community partner with monthly continued communications

* Year-long to 7 week online hybrid for faculty

* Advisory Board (helps create ongoing policies and has an inclusive membership)

* Administrator presentations

* Professional Development Opportunities for all employees
Keep in mind YOUR protocols MUST suit YOUR institution and the individuals who are with you in partnership.

If you are unsure you have the right people at the table...

ASK the people at the table for suggestions...

THEN ask people at other tables.
RECIPROCAL results from

* Produce usable products that address
local, regional, national & global issues
- I've included sample product examples in the
e-mail sent to pre-conference participants

*Productive self-analysis

*Increased student learning

* Co-education


*Critical Civic Awareness:
- Learns from others, self, and environment to
develop informed perspectives on social issues;

- Takes an active role in the political process;

- Recognizes and appreciates human diversity and commonality;

- Assumes leadership and membership roles in organizations;

- Participates actively in public life, public problem solving, and public service;

- Behaves and works through controversy with civility;

- Develops empathy, ethics, values, and sense of social responsibility;

- Promotes social justice locally and globally...
*Protocol: the accepted or established code of behaviour in any group, organization, or situation
a Pre-Conference session facilitated by
Mursalata Muhammad, Associate Professor Grand Rapids Community College
at the FORMULAS 4 SUCCESS in Service Learning and Civic Engagement conference

(Community College National Center for Community Engagement
19th annual National Conference; May 26 - 28, 2010
Click below for CCNCCE website:

1. Become familiar with Reciprocity and SIX other protocols for ensuring strong partnerships
2. Identify key stakeholders
3. Create a working list of protocols for key stakeholders
4. Determine need for key stakeholder preparation to ensure reciprocal partnerships
5. Create an outline for creating shared knowledge around reciprocal partnerships

Participants will leave:
1. Understanding how Reciprocity works as a universal protocol for creating socially innovative partnerships
2. Seriously pondering how Reciptocity can help them create high functioning partnerships
Click bellow for Protocol Video:
Clinton Wired Interview:
One Book, One City for Kids:
Rober Wright:
Univ. of Maryland Terp: Coalition for Civic Engagement & Leadership
Successful partnerships are socially innovative and strive to provide results for all key stake holders. Socially innovative partnerships work from non-zero sum paradigms.

Using Reciprocity as the guiding protocol for partnership helps create shared agendas around teaching, learning, and engagement. This pre-conference examined how reciprocity and the establishment of other protocols create the shared knowledge needed to keep partnerships working together to achieve results for themselves and each other.
Reciprocity: The Non-Zero Sum *protocol for Socially Innovative Partnerships
Thank you for your time.
Mursalata Muhammad.
Click below for my website:
Full transcript