From collaboration to mass collaboration…

October 16, 2012 | Author:

Mass collaboration and business value

Collaborating, isn’t that what everybody does on a daily basis, in any organization with all means at their disposal (mail, telephone, meetings, business travel…)?  So why would an organization want to launch internal collaboration through social technologies? Isn’t that all too complicated and too risky, too complex and too expensive?

Or maybe on the contrary, an organization wants to rush into social collaboration, as it promises better productivity, easier worldwide contributions, easier to mobilize collective talent in the organization, therefore more creativity, quicker problem solving, more efficient communication etc. etc.

But how can an organization amplify its capabilities through mass collaboration and yet address its business challenges and opportunities in a strategic way? It takes a well-considered and planned approach, to build a more agile social organization, where everybody directly participates in delivering business value. To make mass collaboration work, it’s key to have a community who collaborates around a common purpose on a social media platform that suits the organization’s needs.

6 Principles enabling mass collaboration

Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald from Gartner Inc. give precious insights in their book “The Social Organization”, on how to develop a strategic approach to community collaboration.

According to Bradley and McDonald, the implementation of social media without displaying the following 6 core principles, won’t enable mass collaboration:

Participation: without the contributions of the community (ideas, comments, etc) there is no collaboration.

Collective: community members contribute to a collective effort, constantly being created and expanded through a multitude of independent contributions.

Transparency: all contributions should be visible by everyone, in order to allow the community to apply content more intelligently. Without transparency there can be no collaboration.

Independency: each member can collaborate independently: anytime, anywhere updating, commenting, editing…

Persistence: what information should persist, be held and kept for others to view, share and increase? This should be taken into account when choosing a solution/platform.

Emergence: it’s what emerges over time within the community in terms of ideas, solutions, expertise, innovation, around a common purpose.


The fundamental cycle of collaboration

Bradley and McDonald define the cycle of collaboration, as follows:


A challenge to develop a social organization

It’s a challenging project, to turn an organization into a social organization. It requires :

  • a strategic approach
  • effective management guidance, to keep communities in line with the organization’s strategy and challenges


The power of mass collaboration

Mass collaboration is very powerful, but requires a total different mind-set from the traditional approach:

  • no longer think in terms of hierarchy and traditional management
  • create a community to respond to a challenge rather than assigning it to a person or a group and create a structured process to deal with it


Collaborative communities

Collaborative communities can make your organization save lots of time and money and deal with many challenges in a more efficient way, as they provide:

  • better intelligence and quicker solutions.
  • a faster assessment of and reaction to changes in the operating environment
  • a more rapid adoption of change in the organization, since the community participants got involved in solving the challenge
  • a competitive edge in just about any aspect of the business involving people


The result…

The act of listening and encouraging participation produces better results and forges closer ongoing relationships and creates a more efficient operating model. A social organization will therefore be quicker, more innovative, more nimble, more responsive to the market place and more focused.


Collaborative platforms & needs assessment

There are many collaborative platforms available, making online communication and collaboration more efficient. Just to mention a few: Yammer, Podio, Confluence, Basecamp, Box, etc. One of the many solutions available will suit your needs. That’s why it’s so important to take the time and make a serious needs assessment, in order to make sure you opt for the right solution for your organization.



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