Saw a thought-provoking YouTube video hypothesizing that people in organizations don’t collaborate because it’s just too hard. The post came from my friend and former colleague, Andy Fox, who was CTO of SiteScape when I was VP of Marketing there. The company, since acquired by Novell, made a terrific web and real-time collaboration application.
Andy’s message is spot on. “Destination collaboration,” a term I believe he coined, is too difficult and rarely embraced by the people who should be communicating and sharing knowledge. He suggests that messaging with “organizing tools” added in is the way to go and the future of collaboration.
But messaging was and is a dismal failure for collaboration. (The exception might be what I call “short burst issues:” matters that are narrow in scope and timeframe.) Witness the collapse of Kubi Software, which (in its original incarnation) was created to use messaging as the collaboration platform, supplemented by the kind of organizing structures I think Andy has in mind. The limitations of messaging are why destination collaboration tools were invented in the first place. This is a central theme in the marketing messages from developers of these applications.
Research from groups such as NetAge, as well as our experience at SiteScape, reveals that so much of the problem getting collaboration to work is a people / culture issue that organizations ignore like the plague (or perhaps the H1N1 virus). When stakeholders do pay attention to organization culture and people’s motivations, so-called destination collaboration can be highly effective. Witness the success of large-scale collaboration at Shell International and the US Centers for Disease Control, two enlightened users of these tools.
If you want to learn more about “destination collaboration” and Andy Fox’ point of view, watch his video, “Say Goodbye to destination collaboration.”
The renewable energy ventures I work with need good ways to collaborate. Andy, I’ll be interested to hear your next step.
– Posted by Tom Witkin