Sunday 10 August 2008

Welcome to KC Collaboration Perspectives

Dear readers,

Collaboration is a hot topic, especially for knowledge intensive businesses. Many excellent blogs exist on the topic already, but many of the existing blogs focus primarily on a single dimension of collaboration, such as new IT tools with promising features. The KC Collaboration Perspectives blog acknowledges that collaboration is inherently complex and involves many different things. Companies seeking to improve collaboration should therefore take a comprehensive view on collaboration, to make sure that otherwise good initiatives in one or several areas are not "torpedoed" by lack of effort in others.

Companies that are good at collaboration are in general more productive, more innovative and more profitable than their competitors (exceptions exist, but there is safety in large numbers). Furthermore, they have typically developed a good understanding of how the different parts come together, and they are good at orchestrating the different dimensions of collaboration.

Broader collaboration improvement initiatives address collaboration in the form collaboration usually occurs, in realistic settings. This involves a spectrum of different collaboration contexts; different types of formal and informal co-located collaboration (collaboration sessions in dedicated facilities, meetings, informal discussions in common areas with interaction support), collaboration in different distributed settings, and finally combinations of the former; e.g. a co-located core team combined with one or more satellite teams and mobile knowledge workers on the move.

Successful improvement initiatives may involve C-level executives and senior management (sponsorship), the IT department (developers as well as operations), facility management, HR / training department, AV integrators, video conferencing / telepresence vendors, suppliers of collaboration technologies, architects and interior architects, and a sufficient number of end users. These different groups all "own" different parts of overall, successful collaboration infrastructures and practices, and should be actively involved in the process of designing, leading and managing collaboration. The current lack of integration between these stakeholders seriously affects the effectiveness of collaboration infrastructures and collaboration practices.

In this blog, I will present interesting results and case studies relevant for the development of high-performance collaboration infrastructures and practices, and general comments and thoughts on collaboration. Blog entries will focus on providing ideas for reflection and quick and specific recommendations based on recent findings. Specific topics include successful collaboration practices, collaboration technologies, collaboration strategies, collaboration facilities, new office design, collaboration user interfaces / the front end of collaboration (often neglected), user requirements, and so forth.

- Enjoy, and please feel free to comment!

Kjetil Kristensen, PhD
Kristensen Consulting