This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Myths of collaboration

KMWorld in October published a supplement on Best Practices in Collaborative Knowledge Sharing, containing six articles on various aspects (primarily technical) of knowledge sharing and collaboration.  The piece the caught my eye was editor Andy Moore's opener - The Power of Jointness.  It describes research from MITRE, and some conventional wisdom associated with technologies around knowledge management and collaboration.

I thought this list of “lessons learned” about collaborative efforts would shed some light on the following essays. So says MITRE: “Conventional wisdom would have one believe that successful technology insertion must follow six hypothetical guidelines:

  • The organization’s culture must naturally support collaboration.
  • Exhaustive requirements analysis is needed to ensure success.
  • You need broad high-level management support.
  • The information technology (IT) infrastructure must be accommodating.
  • Build it and they will come.
  • You need a lot of money to deploy collaboration technologies.”

But here’s the kicker: “None of these guidelines proved entirely true in our experience.”

He goes on to describe the reason why these things by themselves are not necessary for successful collaboration.  The article is based on a MITRE report from their February 2000 The Edge Perspectives: Collaboration Solutions that Make a Difference (pdf).  The report in question is "Collaboration Technology Insertion: Disruptive Technologies Challenge Conventional Wisdom" by John Davidson, and it starts on page 6.

Interesting perspective in the article.  In essence, all of this conventional wisdom points at a deeper need for collaboration technologies to work.  What is driving your organization?  What is it that you are trying to "do?"  These are the things that will drive the success / failure of the technology.  Conventional wisdom is a good guideline, but be sure it makes sense in your circumstances.

Why multitask - instant gratification

KM Chicago: CoP's at NSLS on Nov 8th