Collaboration beyond knowledge management

We are familiar with the traditional collaboration and knowledge management software solutions and “heavy” solutions for the web. To gather, sort and make data available for groups. We have gotten familiar with some of the social network solutions like LinkedIn, facebook, MySpace and so forth. But we have a lot in front of us when these – and real time communication solutions melt into seamless web 2.0 and web 3.0 concepts.

The essence of collaboration is; by doing things together we get a better outcome, than the effort done by the same amount of individuals would alone. The essence of digital collaboration is to achieve this in a virtual environment where there is no boundaries of location for the participants. Hardware, Software, Portals, web applications, API’s, and not to forget broadband connections and so forth enables a totally new set of possibilities. We can rapidly move from old fashioned (and kind of “static”) Knowledge Management software and server solutions locked in to the company’s IT environment, and move toward open engines where you can both structure your input and collect your output, team based, and go far beyond that and increase work flow processes, speed up projects and make use of your time line far better. Just as we all knew on beforehand; the most interesting discussions and biggest “breakthrough’s” in problem solving happens at the coffee machine, or over a beer in the pub. The trick is to set up a digital environment that support common human behavior, where the technology becomes as invisible as possible. In order to achieve the optimal of all the possibilities the most important factor is may be not not the digital boundaries, but the organizational ability to change from an old fashioned work flow, towards new and improved processes. Defining accurate and flexible concepts for your organizational collaboration and how to implement this in your organization is maybe a bigger challenge than the actual Digital bit of it.

What is beyond traditional knowledge management, and project management systems? We see concepts that includes both a- syncrone and syncrone collaboration in one and the same solutions, we see an increased interests in integrated services instead of singular software. Services that add, and include e.g. instant messaging, presence management, predefined web based web conference solutions (instead of heavy duty videoconferencing hard/software ) like meetcon are emerging. We see that complete collaboration portals (tailor made) that make real sense to reaching goals like; cost savings, time saving, rapid product development (time to market) real time meetings and e learning, increased contact with customers and so forth . All this is a reality of combined and integrated services that takes collaboration to new levels. The best part is that all the technology is at hand right now, it’s not science fiction! Sharepoint from MS, IBM collaboration and a lot of other have improved solutions during the last couples of years. It’s also easy to make solutions that are totally web based without the traditional software solution and need for download of heavy clients. We are no longer dependent on one kind of system, but can “shop” from a lot of systems, services and integrate them into our own needs.

And it gets even more interesting when you start looking at combining this kind of collaboration concepts with communities and add “mash up” concepts. Can you imagine this kind of concepts in a “transparency” environment? How this can influence your work force? What kind of innovative organization you can build and grow? I’m looking forward to see some of the upcoming project that I bet is already in work several places around the world. This is the wonderful part of innovation, it often seem to be a “collective consciousness” worldwide. The next few years will surely be interesting in terms of re-newing the way we work in both a global and local sense. Mobility, cross country and cross culture workflow will increase, and with it – the level of innovation will rise.

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