Collaboration. Are we there yet?

Collaboration is not new …

it’s simply how the human race has evolved and differentiated itself from the other species over time.

Image of the world onlineWe are now at the point where collaboration enabled through technology convergence empowers people beyond geographic and social boundaries.

So are we ready?

What are the defining attributes of collaboration?

  • Intellectual and co-operative endeavour
  • Knowledge and expertise more important than role or title
  • Joint venture
  • Teamworking
  • Participation in planning and decision making
  • Non-hierarchical relationship
  • Sharing of expertise
  • Willingness to work together towards an agreed purpose
  • Trust and respect in collaborators
  • Highly connected network
  • Low expectation of reciprocation

With the end of over three decades’ convergence of people, processes and technologies, are we now poised at a interesting time to enable collaboration within our businesses? With the emergence of the first of the i-Generation to enter the workforce (aka collaboration workers), with their entire education they were connected to some form of the Net? With all the prevalence and pervasiveness of the global economy, social media and online finances?

Several paths, roadmaps  and trends are converging that now enable simple and cost-effective remote working and collaboration.

  • The appearance of network-connected low-cost, simple to use mobile and portable technologies
  • The global standardisation of more intuitive human-to-machine interfaces has spread from the humble rotary telephone and the first IBM-compatible PCs through to the iPhone and tablet PCs of today.
  • The explosive growth of video services from simple YouTube videos through to global high-definition (HD) tele-presence systems.

Only now can we have real open collaboration in real-time to multiple distributed locations without the prohibitive costs.

With the challenges posed by the recent economic crisis that has manifested on a global scale, we need to look at how we work and collaborate–not if we should collaborate!

For example, who would have thought that a US president could reach out, not only to the US citizens but to the world’s collaborators, using the simple power of the word, but delivered via the world’s largest collaboration enabling system: the internet.

Going forward, there will still be a large volume of bespoke collaboration services that will evolve into easier-to-use, integrated and more intuitive user interfaces, that will federate relevant information about collaborators in real-time. The more advanced and long-sighted service providers will integrate these collaboration systems into knowledge-based data sources, dynamically linked to the actual subjects being discussed in both the typed and spoken word.

Organisations need to embrace collaboration services and understand the next wave of business drivers, needs and relevant regulatory requirements, in a manner that will show tangible benefits that can be realised in a reasonable timeline.

The ultimate challenge will be what changes and innovation is required to business and organisation models as a result of the new collaboration tools and services.

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  1. I pose this question so we can share thoughts on what is required to take collaboration technologies into businesses.

    “What will need to change in businesses to enable a collaboration culture rather than the current command and control culture?”

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