3 November 2005

A Hurdle in Collaboration

What do we do when we've spent all our energy focused on helping others to learn how to collaborate, and suddenly, we find ourselves in a space where we feel stuck? We've developed all the right tools, everyone loves them and uses them. Now, they want to contribute and feedback and participate in developing these tools further. Something doesn't feel right anymore...but you don't know what it is.
The Hurdle
Oops...we now find ourselves now engaged in a deeper kind of collaboration. One that requires us to open up and receive, not just give. This sense of sharing can be too intimate for some, treading on our personal space, forcing us into a more dynamic relationship.

We've always thought of these tools as a process. Now we realize that others see them as products. But, products seems so fixed, we think.

It's just perspective. Collaboration tools like platforms and workshops to get everyone on the same page are fantastic tools to the participants. To the developers, they are part of a continual process to refine, adapt, grow. We don't want our tools to become fixed products.

Perhaps we have to also broaden our perspective and see it from client logic. A client doesn't want a fixed tool either, but they want something fixed in time so that it's accessible, usable and reliable. That doesn't mean it can't be dynamic and connected and evolving. Accepting feedback and learning to share and disseminate the learning is all part of collaboration. We're teaching that to clients, right?

Even the developers of knowledge management tools need a bit of coaching in colaboration once in awhile, too.

I dedicate this posting to someone very dear to us, whom we have always relied on to always have the answers. Now it's their turn to let us help them a bit, too. It's our way of saying thanks and that we believe we can help you really bring this alive, and in the way you vision it. Share your concerns...that's also an important part of the collaborative process.

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