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:
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”
That is one of the main reasons for Google Wave failing. It tried to blur the traditional communication, collaboration boundaries, and ended up confusing people in the effort.
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