Collaboration Frameworks 2011 - On Creating a Global Workspace: Part Two
By Ann Grackin
on Feb 8, 2011
Introduction to Ideas in a Global Work Space.
Full Article Below -
As all of you who work on global and cross-functional process know, collaboration is work!
Last week we shared a framework with you (collaboration framework), which some readers stated was not really a framework-agreed. ‘Towards a Framework’ might have been a better phrase (see Figure 1). To continue this dialog I have opened a LinkedIn group called Global Work Space. You are most welcome to join and share—collaborate—your ideas there.
And as many work/skills researchers and academics will tell you, it is one thing to have an open attitude, and think you are a collaborative ‘type.’ It is quite another thing to truly model—analyze what you are doing—and create a framework, and write a useful treatise on the subject that people can use and implement in their endeavors. (Thus this series, which I hope you will all collaborate on). With that in mind, the Global Work Space group was created. I have been inviting people from all sorts of professions, from architecture, to marketing, technology, academics, to product and supply chain and nonprofits—all who rely on building high performance collaborative teams to get something important done—whether raising funds for their charity or creating the next Mars space craft. If this is a topic of interest to you, please join.
Now to today’s article:
Most of us are aware that with globalizing and outsourcing, companies have many dynamic and complex relationships with their trading partners. In some business models collaboration is the de facto standard modus operandi. The arts and construction are examples.
Witnessing the current rebirth of the US auto industry illustrates how dynamic and urgent the need for effective collaboration can be. Looking at the evaluation, selection and collaborative design processes, as these companies design and reinvent the new hybrid autos, one sees a complex set of partners and issues involved. An example here is selecting battery partners—which includes not only technology, design, and price, but the government sponsorship to assure capacity, partnering and finance/funding of advanced development of components, etc. And of course, all this has to be done while you are still trying to build and deliver 10 million autos. That’s literally like changing the tires while the car is going 60 MPH!
New Product Introductions (NPIs), rebranding, opening in new markets, new projects or make-overs are all intensive projects that require high performance collaboration amongst the diverse team of players. Creativity and financial performance must co-exist. Yet for market success or completion of work or fulfillment of charter, creating a collaborative climate must be foremost.
In the design world—such as product design, architects, etc.—the goal is fusing multicultural ideas to create new work spaces, new products, and new communities that grow opportunity and knowledge is the goal. Without the fostering of ongoing ideas, their communities wither.
Nancy Yen-wen Cheng
I recently read Design Collaboration Strategies by Nancy Yen-wen Cheng of the University of Oregon and Thomas Kvan at the University of Hong Kong. They noted a phenomena in the design world that I would call the ‘virtual studio’ (vs. on premise architects, or physical office/design studios), and the use of various technologies to enable collaboration across the creative space:
“Recent efforts have engaged available media and channels, such as e-mail, web pages, listservs; with shared whiteboard, application sharing and desktop video-conferencing used for the remote partnerships. These studio-based activities have been complemented by controlled laboratory-based experiments in which subjects have used whiteboards, text chat or voice, sometimes supplemented by videocommunication. The range of projects used in these various settings has explored a variety of design opportunities and collaborative strategies.”
In the nonprofit world, organizations like ONE (one.org) have thrived by creating networks of community that can respond to events, collaborate and create campaigns specific to social causes and reach sub communities of interest. (http://twitter.com/#!/ONECampaign) Again, the use of technology—web, social media, video, telephone campaigns, as well as traditional in person events, rallies, etc.—are all fused together to involve people in working for social good.
Collaboration is the foundation
In my mind, what emerges from these examples, from new product design at GM, to architecture, to ONE's network, is that the collaboration is supported by the elements of:
Human systems that absorb—incorporate organically new members, new ideas and new idea threads that support the ‘charter’ or purpose of the group. But the group itself changes and evolves due to these encounters.
Policy—structure and boundaries—such a relevancy in a social network, or standards in communication. These may be informal accepted norms of behavior in the team or formalized guidelines and policies, and may be supported/reinforced by the collaboration tools, environment and technology.
Applications in the cloud—the global work space needs a space, the cosmic water cooler, where we all congregate to talk and can share ideas, concepts, and designs. The Applications enables the creation of the work product such as design drawings, plans, fund drives, etc.
Devices and Collaboration Tools/Environments—ranging from Telepresence room systems where we can see and almost touch one another, like we are in the same room, to mobile devices allowing us to participate wherever we are. The dynamics and virtualizations are so much fun, as you can experience in games, etc. But some purposes are quite serious, such as remote medical care, or rescue operations. (And having had one of the worst winters in a while, many of us are extremely happy to have virtual meeting tools!)
Within this table, we make an attempt to insert exerpts from the research on what people see as the goals or components that need to be addressed in order to create a sucessful collaboration work space.
PS. I interpret the word space to be not just a physical idea, but one of the mind, room to grow.
Towards a Collaboration Framework
Developing methods to create high performance and creativity.
Smart phones, pads, wireless networks, mobile apps
Apple, Google, Verizon, AT&T, and thousands of app vendors
Whether a global enterprise, a SOHO, small consultancy, or nonprofit, organizations have challenges communicating across the web, across the world and on premise. From Open Space, to Mashups, to LinkedIn, Twitter, networks, Virtual Meeting technology people are exploring ways to collaborate and build creative high performance dynamic work teams and communities with meaning for them.