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Collaboration - Think Before You Jump For The Computer

Flickr: Whiteboard at GoogleIt's funny but all the chatter about "collaboration" one tends to hear now-a-days (and boy, isn't there a lot) all centres around "on-line collaboration" ... the use of the computer as the ultimate collaboration tool.

What a load of plop.

I sat with a fellow "on-line collaboration / community wrangler" a while ago and we both used pen and paper as our collaboration tools of choice.

And when I talk with organisations about collaboration I always ask if they use whiteboards, meeting spaces or Scrum-type meetings to collaborate as they can be the most cost effective, most efficient and, let's be honest, the easiest way to collaborate.

So, when you next have a software vendor touting their latest and greatest collaboration software (which they may even sell as their "knowledge solution", *shudder*) think about yellow stick it notes, white boards in prominent places and getting people to talk to each other.

Even though the "NASA Space Pen / Russian pencil" story is urban legend it's good for reminding us that we should think of the easiest, simplest solutions first - why pay for a pen when a pencil will do!


  1. Bang on target Mike. A man after my own heart. You'd enjoy reading "Lean Thinking" (if you haven't already done so)- especially the bits about Toyota's manual progress tracking - white boards, marker pens and magnetic buttons, not complex computerised systems.

    I feel a post coming on! Thanks.

  2. Nice work Mike!
    That is one of the things I REALLY liked about BarCamp on the weekend - we all came up with stuff (we'll call it information) and let others know (sharing) i.e. " we collaborated". It wasn't hard, we didn't have technical issues, if we had a question we could just ask and best of all - IT WORKED. People: Face to face is usually best!!


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