A friend pointed me to yesterday's Thomas Friedman column in the NY Times on definitions of "collaboration." Collaborate vs. Collaborate
col-lab-o-rate [k uh-lab- uh-reyt]
verb (used without object), col-lab-o-rat-ed, col-lab-o-rat-ing.
1. to work, one with another; cooperate, as on a literary work: They collaborated on a novel.
2. to cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, especially with an enemy occupying one’s country: He collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
Friedman's focus is mostly definition 2, associated with political gridlock (in Washington DC) as compared to how I usually think of collaboration - definition 1.
It's a good reminder that definitions and common understanding are important. Emphasizing collaboration - or any other concept - to someone who has a negative connotation isn't going to help matters.