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HBR says Collaboration Rules

UPDATE: Please note that all the links below are broken. Apparently this was a temporary effort by HBR to make the article available for free. The abstract can be found on their standard pages, Collaboration Rules, and the full article for a fee.

Harvard Business Review have made a July-August 2005 feature by Philip Evans and Bob Wolf freely available, Collaboration Rules

Extraordinary group efforts don’t have to be miraculous or accidental. An environment designed to produce cheap, plentiful transactions unleashes collaborations that break through organizational barriers.
[thanks to Clark Ching for the pointer]

While ostensibly about the power of collaboration in the two very different environments of Linux developers and the Toyota supply chain, I saw some strong hints of Theory of Constraints among a community of people who share a common goal.  Importantly, these communities span multiple companies and organizations, each of which have their own goals as well.  But the power in these two examples is that the people involved understand the larger goal of the system as a whole to be just as important a driver as the their local goals. 

In the case of the Toyota supply chain, members know that if anything gets in the way of production, that no one makes money.  And in the case of Linux, the goal is more nebulous than making money, but is ongoing quality of the product - a product that supports the goals of the member organizations.

And don't miss the three sidebars within the article

Building Vibrant Human Networks

  • Deploy pervasive collaborative technology.
  • Keep work visible.
  • Build communities of trust.
  • Think modularly.
  • Encourage teaming.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due.  Shows the credit path for this article.

Exploiting the Neglected 80%.  Mentions how collaboration helps Toyota reduce their transaction costs and capture value from their "long tail."

AOK: Conversation with Piero Formica

Conversation and knowledge