Being a collaboration man myself, I really liked this post by Mike Gotta (http://mikeg.typepad.com/perceptions/2007/04/categorizing_co.html),
on different forms of collaboration.
The question was how can a company increase/stimulate collaboration between the employees
Mike sees four types of collaboration :
– process-centric : this is when people work on a process, this can be an invoicing process, a budgetting process, or anything where people jointly work to get it done, but where the process and procedures are part of the company rules
the driver for the collaboration here is the process, the business rules
– activity-centric : these are typically projects, task forces or other (mostly temporary) teams with ta specific task
the driver for the collaboration here is the task to be achieved, with a personal self-interest when the team target needs to be achieved
– community-centric : the inevitable communities of practice, where people with a similar job (the practice) collaborate
the driver for the collaboration here is the passion for the practice and the proud for the job.
There can be some selfish elements here too, but seniors consider it a natural requirement to help struggling juniors. Group relations become more important.
– network-centric : people tap into their social networks to get advice and reciprocally, feed their knowledge into the network when needed
the driver here is very personal, from professional advice to social security and business opportunities)
This is very much in line with how I support collaboration in our company, but I use a supplementary category for departments, so I have :
– departments : people who are doomed to work together by the hierarchical organization of the company
– process-centric : people working on a specific process, which overspans several departments (I often call these Communities of Process)
– activity-centric : project teams get a project workspace with a central document store area and communication tools
– community-centric : regular communities of practice
– unfortunately I do not support any form of network-centric collaboration, but personally I use LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) as a tool to help me manage my external network. My internal network is mostly an Adidas-network.
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