Collaborative Participation

I saw this request recently, I want "collaboration tools that work".  It was one of those quotes that has been niggling at my brain since I read it.  In fact I’d say it has really made me reflect on collaboration and the whole meaning behind the word and the technology that helps enable.  So instantly given the "make it work" thought I moved into:

  • Was the technology right?
  • what solutions were implemented?
  • how are they used?
  • who uses them?
  • why do they use them?
  • what is the culture of the organisation?

But with time my thoughts have moved and are now along the lines of:

  • how do we drive adoption?
  • how do we maintain participation?
  • how do we switch people on to the benefits of collaboration?

Having toddlers is great, it makes you realise that they have a constant drive to learn and participate, but they key is that they also have plenty of enjoyment along the way and although initially they may be scared they will try things (sometimes with a push) but then come back to go again and again and again….and each time they get better at it.


My top 5 thoughts…

  • You need to find what motivates people and exploit that to your advantage.  (remembering that a significant minority of your co-workers will give up time to volunteer – so if they do stuff for nothing outside work how can we get them to do more in a collaborative fashion within work?)
  • How do we make the experience the most engaging thing they’ll do – will they enjoy it  (many of the people we want to be collaborative are highly collaborative outside the gate!)
  • How do organisations recognise the value of collaboration over the value of individual work?
  • The Google 20% Time seems an great method to force people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, with people they wouldn’t normally work with.
  • Find your enthusiastic people and give them a voice.  Kill the "bloody work" crowd, many folks love and are passionate, give them a voice and set them free.

I hope that came across as passionate rather than ranting :-)  Richard has a nice video blog entry which explores different areas along this theme.

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  1. Stuart,

    Good post. If people can’t (or won’t) use the tools, then what use are they? Goes back to the culture vs technology argument, that is, we need to consider more than just the technology when planning/deploying.



  2. Steve, its the age old issue isn’t it. I think now though its becoming more and more of a focul point as executive management look for improved financial performance of organisations through collaboration and yet in many cases people fundamentally aren’t motivated to collaborate for various reasons.


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