Building a collaborative organization is not easy. Collaboration is not a rule you can set; it is an organizational culture that is embraced by its members. But where do you start? What is important? Here are four important things you should keep in mind.
1. Do it as an innovation platform.
In order to succeed in collaboration world, you cannot just think of yourself as a content provider or as someone creating an initiative, product, or service, instead become the curator, someone how create a context or platform that allows other people to self-organize and creates things that are valuable for both you and them. And maybe even for the world, don’t just load it up with static content. Instead, create the framework and tools for other to create their content and build communities.
Because of the networked age, organizations can be much more than just organizations. They can be platforms for value creation, creating a platform for innovation expand the power of a larger more diverse and ultimately more capable network of contributors than you could ever find in a single organization. Building an open and intelligent network for transportation innovation could help convene communities around shared problem.
The corollary is that if people are going to hack your products anyway then you may as well get ahead of the game better than sues the people how love your product most. Make your products modular, reconfigurable and editable. Set the context for open innovation and collaboration, provide venues. Build users friendly toolkits. Supply the raw materials that collaborators need to add value to your product make it easy to remix and share. And finally don’t expect a free ride. Your contributors will increasingly expect to share in the ownership and fruits of their creations if you make it profitable for potential collaborators to get involved you will always be able to count on a dynamic and fertile ecosystem for growth and innovation
2. Rethinking the commons.
All organizations should abandon their fortress mentality and open up by sharing some of their assets within their business networks or even beyond. Because sharing is about attaining growth, innovation, and profits. It is true that companies need to protect critical intellectual property, but at the same time they would not collaborate effectively if their Intellectual Property (IPs) were hidden. So to make collaboration works for your organization you will need to put selectively intellectual property and other assets up for grabs, thus allowing a larger amount of information seeking new projects and opportunities for collaboration. This might sound like a potential threat to businesses, yet, in fact, it’s an opportunity for the organization to discover a new ground for creativity, both inside and outside the fences of their organization.
The paradox of today’s age is this: to be strong, to have control, to ensure your security as an organization or society, you have to let go and open up. To be sure, there are real dangers of shifting to the new open networked model, there can be unintended consequences. But letting go can take many forms, it could mean giving your employees more freedom and more flexibility to innovate and co-create with their peers, it could mean tapping your suppliers and partners for idea and collaborating more closely on product design and manufacturing.
It could mean sharing at least some of your assets with the public to expand your reach or help attract a larger network of contributors. It could mean letting a loyal and engaged community of enthusiasts help grow your brand using their DIY marketing campaigns. Letting go can entail some risk. There’s always a chance that an ill-conceived strategy could blow up in your face. But done right, letting go will make you stable, more robust, and better prepared to navigate an increasingly complex environment.
But if you decide to outsource the work need, a emerges to tackle the issue of the potential benefit that the organization would be willing to make. If the benefit was there, outsource this work and make it open for any external help. (See The Logic of Open Business Models) In making the decision to outsource, organizations should consider strategy as well as cost: Does having direct ownership of the work confer any competitive advantage?. If so, keep that work in-house and make sure that those responsible for the work are freed from lower-value tasks that others could accomplish.
Sharing does come with its challenges as it means less control and requires practitioners to learn and abide by the rules of scientific and creative communities. It means investing in infrastructures for collaboration while carefully considering when and how to distribute rewards and profits within the community.
To make sharing work, you’ll need to reveal your IP inappropriate network socializing it with participants and letting it spawn new knowledge and invention. You’ll need to stay connected to the community so that you can leverage new contribution as they come in. You’ll also need to dedicate some resources to filtering and aggregating contributions.
3. Create a culture of collaboration.
The hardest challenge for anyone who wants to transform their institution for the networked age is to deepen and broaden the culture of collaboration. To make this work you, you as an organization and as an individual must assume a collaborative disposition. This means being genuinely open to the co-creation ideas, irrespective of whom or where they originate from, instead of jumping at the opportunity to undermine them.
It means giving up the instinct to protect turf and exert control creating a dynamic meritocracy where ideas and information can flow freely through the organization. You need to abandon the old style hierarchy and encourage people within the organization to talk directly to one another even if they’re in different departments.
To turn into a collaborative workplace, the organization’s leaders will need to decide that collaboration is an essential part of the business or mission and direct the organization toward that common achievement. You will need to decide that collaboration toward that common achievement. You will need to assign your most appropriate resources on a dedicated basis to enabling the essential collaboration endeavor. You must relentlessly communicate the need to make enhanced collaboration a success, sustain the momentum, and then describe the next steps.
4. Find and strengthen the vanguard.
Collaborative communities never get off the ground without a core group of leaders who establish the vision and community values and attract more people to the ecosystem. This small group provides the social capital and technical infrastructure that other participants build on.
The people in the vanguard set the tone for the community. They can have profound influences on the type of community that evolves especially since newcomers tend to model their behavior on what they have already observed. Communities that are creating things develop their rules that govern issues such as communications, appropriations, and the form and manner of contribution.
Providing incentives certainly will help motivate the vanguard be successful. Let them expand gradually and tackle collaboration as real work, not as a distraction.
Moreover, empower the wisdom in this group by following the James Surowiecki the author of the Wisdom of the Crowd book principles, as he said:
There are four conditions that characterize wise crowd: diversity of opinion (each person should have some private information, even if it’s just an eccentric interpretation of the known facts), independence ( people’s opinions are not determined by the opinions of those around them), decentralization (people can specialize and draw on local knowledge), and aggregation (some mechanism exists for turning private judgment into collective decision.
Empowering the Professional–Amateurs (Pro-Am) would help you build ‘social capital’: Networks of relationships that allow people to collaborate, share ideas and take risks together. ‘Social capital’ can help glue a society together and enable people to trust each others, thus encouraging them to change collaboratively and share risks.
Their distaste for hierarchy and preference for collaboration are forcing the organization to rethink how they recruit, compensate, develop, and supervise talent. Companies can leverage this to seek out fresh insight to build better products, services, and even strong brand. Unfortunately, most organization and institutions do a pretty poor job of engaging young people. Smart companies understand that tools and platforms such as Facebook and other social media are becoming the new operating system for their business. And for new generation these tools are natural, like the air they breath.
The Wisdom of The Crowd
Their distaste for hierarchy and preference for collaboration are forcing the organization to rethink how they recruit, compensate, develop, and supervise talent. Companies can leverage this to seek out fresh insight to build better products, services, and even strong brand. Unfortunately, most organization and institutions do a pretty poor job of engaging young people. Smart companies understand that tools and platforms such as Facebook and other social media are becoming the new operating system for their business. And for new generation these tools are natural, like the air they breath.Empowering the Pro-Am would help you build ‘social capital’: Networks of relationships that allow people to collaborate, share ideas and take risks together. ‘Social capital’ can help glue a society together and enable people to trust each others, thus encouraging them to change collaboratively and share risks.
- Wikinomics & MacroWikinomics books for Don Tapscott & Anthonyd. Williams.
- Redesigning Knowledge Work, by Martin Dewhurst, Bryan Hancock, and Diana Ellsworth. Harvard Business review, http://hbr.org/2013/01/redesigning-knowledge-work/ar/1
- The Wisdom of the Crowd book for James Surowiecki.
- The Pro-Am Revolution for Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller, the UK think thank Demos www.demos.co.uk/files/proamrevolutionfinal.pdf