Collaboration: by stealth or by design, to a few or to all, in some form or other organisations are getting into it. Those that do, realise that there is more to collaborating than the mere introduction of tools.
There is undoubtedly a large amount of online chatting, blogging and social networking going on out there on the world wide web. Even so, organisations often find it difficult to dig these people out from within the internal ranks.
So what is required for effective online collaboration? And what are some strategies for achieving this? Two important prerequisites are:
- key people who have experience using collaboration tools
- people within the organisation who are already working together
Without these two things the mere appearance of collaboration tools will not enable people to use the tools effectively or compel people to work together when they are not already doing so. Using online tools is a discipline — at the very least it is a habit — and key people who are already ‘walking the walk’ are an integral part of the solution. Without these people, would-be collaborators have no models for collaboration.
If you can tick these two boxes and if you are a lone voice, or part of a very small niche group in a very large organisation, this article explores methods for building this capability within organisations. The recent experience of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is used to demonstrate the approach.
[August KM Column by Cairo Walker, read the full article]