Who owns collaboration?

Everyone’s talking about collaboration within the enterprise and excited about using social media tools on intranets … but who owns the business requirements for collaboration within the enterprise?

One of the serious dangers of introducing social media tools onto your intranet is that, because they are ‘free’ and simple to deploy, techies start deploying them left, right and centre. Before you know it, the hard-fought battle for business-led technology deployment is reversed to the bad-old-days of technologies popping up all over the place looking for a business problem. And, if it isn’t clear who owns the business requirements for collaboration, the danger is even greater as techies start enthusiastically deploying tools to fill the void and meet local needs, rather than concentrating on common capabilities that solve enterprise wide business problems. These under-web tools will also ignore governance, information management, design etc policies and standards.

So, my top-tip for the day is decide who owns the business requirements for collaboration sooner rather than later if you don’t want to spend months unravelling the technical mess that will ensue if you don’t!

What’s the difference??

I was preparing some slides for the Ark Group Enterprise 2.0 conference, at which I seem to have a rather cavernous slot on the afternoon of 2 April, when a thought occurred …

… in a social media context, is there any recognisable difference between communication and collaboration … or do they essentially become one and the same??

As I seem to do with increasing frequency these days, I consulted Wikipedia for quick definitions of both – I’m either getting old and very forgetful or I’m developing an unhealthy dependency on Wikipedia – neither gives me a warm feeling!!

Anyway … according to the great book:

“Communication can be defined as the process of meaningful interaction among living beings. It is the act of passing information and the process by which meanings are exchanged so as to produce understanding.”

Nicely put … and:

“Collaboration is a structured, recursive process where two or more people work together toward a common goal—typically an intellectual endeavour that is creative in nature — by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.”

Also nicely put!

So, on the face of it, different activities. However, I’m not sure that the boundary between them is so clear-cut – I think they are interlinked and overlapping … they happen together and at the same time – one can’t happen without the other in the conversational context of a social media environment. And, in a social media powered corporate environment in which all participants are working towards a common goal, the boundaries are even more blurred.

Yet another warning shot over the bows of the internal communications profession!!