The Value of Online Collaboration – Where do we miss the boat!

Today Frost & Sullivan reports that online collaboration is proving to be an effective way for businesses to save time and money on travel, while maintaining high level of productivity. The arising trend indicates that companies who discovered the advantages of online collaboration are unlikely to return to old ways of conducting business when the economic conditions improve. In addition, collaborating on the web improves the ‘green’ image of companies, as more firms are looking into ways to reduce the usage of limited resources, and are striving to become environmentally conscious.

The question in my mind is: is everyone “really” collaborating? By what measure? To what effect?

At a recent course I ran on Connected Innovation, i took a “hands up” poll. There were twenty people in the room. I asked only two questions. The first was “How many of you work for organizations where the mantra is “collaborate” and the CEO talks about how collaborative the organization is?”. Almost twenty people put up their hand.

I then asked: “And how many of you feel that you really are collaborating with your peers, sharing, and effectively solving problems together?”. Only TWO put up their hands!

We jump very quickly from “Let’s collaborate” to the technology of “collaboration”. But we ignore the governance models that are essential for true collaboration. Without these models, the use of technology is probably 50% effective, at best.


1 Comment

Filed under Collaboration, Innovation

One response to “The Value of Online Collaboration – Where do we miss the boat!

  1. Shaun

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s not that the tools don’t matter, its that the real art seems to be understood by a critical few we call “community organizers”. They seem to have the unique ability to set up and enforce formal and informal rules for their communities and ensure that the interests of the participants are served while meeting a larger group objective. So they are also process masters.

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