Why Collaboration? Because It Makes Sense
Today nearly everyone on Planet Blog was mentioning Ray Ozzie's article on Collaboration and Community. Because my back was acting up, I passed on reading it until I was able to give the topic my attention tonight after a doze of prescription drugs kicked in about 11 PM and I could sit long enough to read.
Dave mentioned Ray Ozzie's article "Why collaboration?" inwhich Ray said, "If you can get people to work in the open, it can be quite valuable to others." [Scripting News]
Even Jon Udell and Scott Loftesness have commented on Ray's thoughts.
I've always considered collaboration a vital part of the development process, especially in the software world. Programmers without direct feedback from customers become highly disconnected. The result is programming that works well in the programmers mind, but lacks something the customers really need or want. Userland has done a good job on this in the development of Radio, but at times I know there are features and things I've discussed with other Radio Bloggers we'd like to see... may be we should just speak up?
However in the past several years the business world has begun to inquire and be more aware of how internal collaboration can be positive to their operations. For me this concept was nothing new-- I've been working remotely with various people around the world for years on CompuServe. Rarely would our group of business partners or content creators gather face2face in one place to iron out thing, or plan for a new year. [The other reason we figured CompuServe wouldn't let us gather in-mass was because we might plot a takeover of the Hillard Control Room ;-)] Any way...
The tools I've used and sat in on the invention process have been always on the bleeding edge. IM made it possible for anyone to connect with me (with permission) to work on a project, shoot code to one another in real time and collaborate on projects increasing productivity dramatically. Notes and other Forum collaboration tools allowed us to gather volumes of valuable information and toolsets necessary to maintain our productivity. This was on top of email, faxes and long distance telephone calls-- all of which went by the near wayside because IM was so immediate.
Over the past several years I have worked with several Fortune 100 & 500 companies creating and recreating several types of collabrative communities and environments in order to aid companies in productivity and to gain a toehold on the valuable "braintrust" of a companies employees and management, as well as open a conduit between the companies and their customers. The major hurdle was to break through with tools people could use functionally, and establish a place of trust.
Too bad many of the dotcomer's didn't understand that clue. Without honestly and trust-- no one in hell is going to ever buy or sign up for your goods, services and pay you. The Beast explains it well in his article "Krispy Kreme: New World Order." This one's a keeper.