"I remember the old days, before all this damned collaboration" - A Timely Reminder

(further in the ongoing series of, "Don't forget all this shiny technology isn't actually doing anything new" )

Collaboration seems to be such a buzz word at the moment that you'd think it was invented 2 years ago ... um, no! The foll lowing two great phrases from the recent past highlight such a belief:
I remember the old working days, before all this damned collaboration :-)

Said in jest but displays an underlying seriousness.
More worrying was this from a self-confessed technophobe at a client site:
Don't get all techie on me in this preso by using words like 'blog' and 'collaboration'!

Crickey!

But remember everyone, collaboration has been around since the first human needed to kill an animal larger than themselves. Also, collaboration can be good or bad and is not a goal in itself - WHY are you collaborating, what is the desired outcome*?

Collaboration needs nothing more than good information, clear communication and active connections.
Collaboration does NOT need a computer ... however a computer can, if appropriate and designed well, assist with all facets of collaboration but it cannot "do" collaboration.

And so, much like the whiteboard comment from before, do not assume that Sharepoint, your favourite wiki, Google Apps, Alfresco or another collection of bits and bytes will solve your collaboration woes. 

The technology is the easier part, it's all about people and desired outcomes!

* Business outcomes come in only 3 types:
  1. Increased revenue (how much and by whom?)
  2. Decreased cost (who will cut their budget for next year because they don't need as much?)
  3. Increased service (measured by what and owned by which business unit?)

Comments

  1. you seem to have become a real skeptic when it comes to technology. Blame it on the vendors not on technology. The vendors in their bid to make their numbers, make promises which simply may not be the best possible solutions.

    I got to your blog while searching for a review on google apps.

    White boards are a cheap workable solution when two people can get together in the same room, the collaborative apps helps when this becomes difficult given the pressing demands of our time.

    Collaborative technologies can really help when people cant get together quickly enough. Am no fan(of collaborative tech) but just my two bit worth.

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  2. Hey Sachin, great to have you reading and thanks for the thoughts.

    Hee hee - have always been a "this is JUST a tool to get something done" person. And, if it's just a tool then it would be remiss of me to point out that there are other tools.

    You are correct, the whiteboard works in certain situations, online collaboraton tools in others - it's a combination of all tools in the appropriate manner that gets things done.

    Vendors do indeed make promises that their software is not suited to. Also IT Departments do the same and "real people" (users) also endeavour to fit round pegs into square holes.

    I think we're both totally agreeing with each other :-) Thanks again

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