Coagulate is a term that can potentially capture a hard-to-describe but important dynamic that develops (or not) in collaboration groups. The literal definition of coagulate has to do with blood gelling into clots. By analogy, collaboration groups sometimes gel; they develop a sense of unity, coherence, togetherness. They become conscious of themselves as a we rather than a collection of Is. Often productive collaboration is dependent on the ability of groups to coagulate.

When groups do not coagulate, they can become disjointed, fractured, at odds with themselves.

While we might see coagulation as a goal, there are potential risks involved as well. For instance, sometimes groups coagulate in such a way that a minority of individuals are left out, marginalized, and/or alienated. Coagulation can also happen in such a way that the lowest common denominator is reinforced--a group of bullies coagulates around the purpose of tormenting a weaker peer.

Another risk is that, in the process of pursuing coagulation, we "play it safe" -- we eliminate the risks and tensions that are often important sources of learning and engagement.