Collaboration is not a technology – it is about people choosing to cooperate. Its a cultural thing.
The tighter and more explicit the collaboration, the more sensitive it is to the culture in which it resides. I’m a big fan of workplace collaboration. If you have it, you’ll recognize that it makes work thrilling, makes you invincible, and as I’m fond of saying, amplifies our strengths and diminishes our weaknesses.
If you actually read this blog, you’ll find it repetitive of me to say that collaboration is not a single behavior, but a constellation of them, that I broadly categorize as Creative, Connective and Compounding.
But the underlying human construct of collaboration is a sense of team. An esprit de corp of some kind or magnitude. And here are the attributes of teams:
1. A shared sense of goal or mission (even if that’s to identify a shared goal or mission).
2. Mutual respect.
4. A commitment to continual improvement. (this is the hardest one, because to improve, one must admit imperfection, must make it a virtue to go looking for trouble, and see it as an opportunity).
What these things together allow is a powerful, compounded beam of intellect focus on the issues at hand rather than on the politics, insecurities or personal quirks of the contributors. ie – the fastest route to success.
Without these, all the microblogging, profile, yammer, twitter, wiki-tech in the world will not help. Of course if you are powerful enough to build such a culture, those tools will grease the skids in delightful ways.