Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cisco Community Central: Enterprise Social Software : Pushing The Reset Button On How We Look At “Collaboration”

Mike Gotta shares some insightful points in this post, and his dimensions of direct/emergent participation and activity-centric/relationship-centric collaboration are useful considerations, but he also overshoots a bit, imho.  An excerpt:

The distinction between spaces and channels has a subtle but pervasive influence on how the industry views “collaboration”. The almost exclusive focus on “spaces” as the most effective means to improve an organization’s collaboration capabilities has resulted in a very narrow approach towards solving what turns out to be a much more broad and complex challenge – how to improve the way people work together (refer to Collaboration: The Long Journey).

Consider the following framework, which evolved from some work I did at Burton Group several years ago:

image

This framework is straightforward --

  • Communication is the transmission of information from point A to point B, and is expressed in terms of channels and items.
  • Collaboration is joint, purposeful activity, and is addressed in (real or virtual) workspaces, typically with shared tools and artifacts, along with membership and access controls.
  • A common underlying information architecture and set of platform services make it possible for people to work in their preferred tools/models while maintaining a globally consistent state and minimizing redundancy.
  • Activity tends to cycle among the different synchronous and asynchronous channels and workspaces, e.g., a customer request or competitive update (via a communication channel) leads people to collaborate in a workspace; they publish the results of their work, and others are updated via their preferred communication channels.

A couple related themes to consider, relative to Mike’s post topics:

  • “E2.0” tool types fit well within the framework – blogs are simply asynchronous communication channels, and “the wiki way” is a useful addition to the asynchronous workspace type collection.
  • Tagging is also not a radical departure from long-established conventions; it’s simply an information item classification platform service, ideally one available in a consistent manner across the full collection of information item tool types.

While it might be convenient for Cisco marketing to suggest that earlier channel- and workspace-oriented tools are now out of step with the >= 2.0 times, I don’t see the need for a “reset button.”

Cisco Community Central: Enterprise Social Software : Pushing The Reset Button On How We Look At “Collaboration”

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