Samstag, 14. Februar 2009

A Case For A Comprehensive Collaboration Model

I've noted the special value of "collaboration", as opposed to mere "deliberation" in consultations before. Deliberation as a process of assembling or arguing from different perspectives in order to establish common sense recommendations is clearly different from engaging people for change in a collaborative process that produces action. Now I found a good thought over at the on how "Collaboration Has Become the Building Block for Productivity and Growth in Government". The connectedrepublic people are a community that discusses aspects of a basic question: "How can creators and users of public services gain from our increasingly connected world?" A lot of it is about digital options, about Government 2.0 and the like.

Collaboration as a basic need and form of interaction in the 21st century
What contributor gcharles at gcharles basically says is this:
  • we live in an increasingly more dynamic and diversified, yet interconnected and interactive world
  • to serve the needs of this world, those of us who work in the public sector (or, for that matter, the citizen sector, if I might add) should develop a new (digital) collaboration model which converges process, technology, and our 21st century culture
  • the collaboration model signifies the "convergence of all forms of communications into experiences that accelerate productivity and decision making at any time, in any place, on any device."
In other words: we should lower the cost of collaboration because collaboration is a basic need and form of public interaction in the 21st century.

Gcharles quotes a certain Gartner Group's prediction "that by 2015, workers will spend more than 80 percent of their time working collaboratively, and only a small portion of collaborative work will be done at the same time in the same place." A comprehensive collaboration model would "empower not just today's mobile workforce but also our connected devices and our citizens" - who, yet another important insight, are themselves "moving beyond self-service to become participatory designers and deliverers of the very services they and their neighbors need."

The fundamental political challenge of collaboration
To gcharles, that idea is so obviously in high demand and beneficial that it's also a clearcut business case. I agree. But while gcharles is focussing in on the generation, exchange, and delivery of social services, I think the challenge of a collaboration model goes beyond: collaboration is an essential political matter. It is a mode of informal politics that we need to adopt to complement the old formal, and sometimes failing, procedures of politics.

How to make (social) collaboration an easy, every day activity is, I think, a fundamental question. Wouldn't it be great if collaboration procedures were as easy and accessible to everyone as calling a friend is today?

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