Mass Collaboration?

A great post on the possibilities of large-scale collaboration within companies.  This makes sense as you have the best source of intellectual capital from the inside of the company. But if you have the following behaviors and problems in your company, you’re in a world of suck:

  • People are rewarded only for owning ideas and making them happen rather than sharing them – little or no TRUST exists to encourage sharing
  • People and leadership are focused only on the ‘bottom line’
  • Military-type culture and structure prevents breaking ‘chain of command’ when it comes to sharing and collaborating
  • Procedure and process oriented culture discourages applying or investigating unorthodox and unproven methods
  • Management only wants to focus on collaboration of things which it feels provides a ROI – return on investment
  • People have a not invented here attitude which prevents them from opening collaborating and sharing (sometimes it promotes open stealing of ideas and concepts and claiming them as their own)

In large companies that have a set structure and culture (and traditional leadership culture) the new way of collaborating wont fly. Also they’ll probably jump on the band-wagon with trying it only after it’s been proven or the lead exec reads it in an airline magazine and gets a bug in his rear about applying it.


2 Responses to “Mass Collaboration?”

  1. 1 Blaine Collins March 23, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Nice post. You raise good points about the factors that hold back organizations from collaborating. Is the hurdle too big for companies to overcome?

    It seems that for those organizations that have the traits you mention, learning the mindset of collaboration may have to first occur internally, across functions and work teams. As that culture shift begins to provide benefits, then the light can come on that the exterior walls might also be porous.

  2. 2 nkilkenny March 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    It’s a good idea strategically to start building and proliferating those internal inroads quickly. I used to think that people were paranoid when they said that politics within a large organization can squash anything alien and foreign within its ranks even if the idea of proposal is beneficial. But I guess that’s the price you have to pay for stability and size… it breeds mediocracy like mold on cheap bread.

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