A few weeks ago I was able to announce, somewhat cryptically, another role on my ever-extending LinkedIn profile – as a Research Associate for the Leading Edge Forum. Now I can put some meat on the bones…

The LEF have commissioned me to run an extensive research project looking into a topic which has fascinated me for the past two decades – how to improve collaboration within organisations, and how whilst we have more options for collaboration software than ever before, whether those products and services make us more collaborative is severely questionable.

I have a few hypothesis going into the project. That there are many different forms of collaboration, and it’s important to be able to understand those distinctions before assuming software can make a difference; that we need to take a platforms approach to delivering collaborative services, not a problem/solution approach; that IT has an important role to play as a change facilitator, but rarely has the capability to step up to the plate; that new, smaller organisations are better geared to take advantage of new tools and services to deliver meaningful collaborative advantage; that we don’t even really know how to measure collaboration.

Over the next six months I’m going to be looking at the following:

  • Definitions of collaboration
  • Definitions of collaborative software services
  • Measures for determining success of collaboration initiatives
  • The role of IT alongside other organisational stakeholders in delivering successful outcomes
  • Distinctions between solutions-led and platform-led approaches to technology and project delivery
  • Factors that lead to shadow or organic collaboration platform growth within organisations
  • Organisational age, culture and workforce demographic factors
  • Impact of mobility and flexible working on collaboration and collaboration technologies

It basically gives me an excuse (and some resources) to talk to a bunch of people who have opinions and experience to share in the field. I’ve a list of people I’m going to get in touch with, but am really interested in finding more – so if you have a story to share, ideas to put into the pot, or generally are interested in this initiative, get in touch.

You can find more information about the project in the scratchpad slide deck here.

3 thoughts on “The Sharing Organization

  1. Congratulations.

    “…whether those products and services make us more collaborative is severely questionable”

    Indeed. Tools can enable, but culture drives. An organization where the culture is focused on achieving its goals and is intentionally structured to achieve them will be able to do more with marginal tools than an organization with state of the art tools that’s deficient culturally or where the structure serves to frustrate the culture.

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