Category: Collaborative culture

Fostering culture of collaboration: practices, benefits and case studies

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Making collaboration efficient when face to face is not possible

Started as a simple experiment in social media, in 2010 composer and conductor Eric Whitacre called out to his online fans to record themselves singing “Sleep” by the British choir Polyphony and upload the result. Impressed by the result, he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, then asking fans to sing along to that. This way, the first Virtual Choir was created. The results of that experiment quickly became viral. Now with more than fifteen million views, the Virtual Choir phenomenon has reached all corners of the world, inspiring more and more singers to join each year.

Beyond its beauty and emotional impact, Virtual Choir also fascinated because its implications regarding the potential new uses for new communication technologies and as one of the first virtual experiences turned into something real. The Virtual Choir can also be considered as an important remainder for how businesses might overcome the challenges of virtuality to benefit from innovative and more efficient business processes, customer relationships or forms of production, from co-innovation and co-production to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or open source.

Not even leaving the limits of a corporation or a company, working remotely can offer operational flexibility, happier employees and lower costs, but to team up virtually with colleagues and coworkers can also pose important challenges. As we know, truly efficient collaboration presents no few difficulties. Virtual collaboration raises even more added complications that require even more care. But as the concept of the extended enterprise becomes more common and most professionals can do their jobs from anywhere, the more critical becomes to get virtual teams right. But how?

Getting right four pillars for virtual collaboration

The answer is not easy. Different studies carried out during the last decade seem to conclude that most of virtual groups fail to satisfy the expectations of companies and their clients. In another study conducted by Deloitte some years ago most of CEO’s and other managers interviewed still considered face-to-face interaction much more productive that virtual communication, and nearly half of them admitted ignorance and confusion about collaboration technologies and their potential.

But some other experts consider is all about how these teams are managed. An Aon Consulting report found that dispersed teams, when run accordingly to this condition, could outperform those sharing the same office space (recording up to 43% higher efficiency). A study of 80 global software teams conducted by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management concluded that virtual teams can improve employee productivity when they are properly managed.

But, what do they mean by “properly managed” or “run accordingly to its virtual condition”? According to Keith Ferrazzi and based on his research and experience helping all sort of organizations as customers of his consulting firm, there are four critical elements to get right: right teams, right leadership, right technology and right touchpoints.

Size is important (the smaller, the better)

We have recently wrote in this blog about how important is to consider people mindset and attitude for working collaboratively beyond their professional knowledge and other skills. Ferrazzi agrees people should first of all be specially suited to work in virtual teams, backing for instance profiles with good communication skills or high emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to put them into groups of the right size and implementing and clearly establishing and communicating the right roles for each one.

As we know, smaller groups facilitate collaboration. In the case of virtual teams, size should be even smaller than when face to face interaction is the norm (some studies suggest teams of 5-6 people and no more than 10 in any case).Team members reduce effort when they feel less responsible for output, but this fact can equally be applied to non-virtual teams. Collaboration between people not sharing a physical space should pay special attention to ensure inclusive communication, a quality harder to achieve the bigger the virtual group is.

Good leadership amplified

Managers can maximize the productivity of virtual teams also by developing the right leadership. Again, this is a quality to apply to every teamwork, no matter if virtual or not. But right leadership must be amplified in virtual ones. A study of different engineering groups concluded that the virtual teams that performed best were those with managers with previous experience in leading such work groups.

Encouraging open dialogue, for instance, is particularly important in these cases. Leaders of dispersed groups in particular must push members to be frank with one another as the problems associated with lack of affinity are more common and severe for virtual teams. For similar reasons, virtual collaboration requires an extra effort fostering trust among co-workers. Ferrazzi mentions the case of a fully virtual organization that encourage new hires to offer video tours of their workspaces, allowing colleagues to mentally picturing their surroundings in later communications. Managers also push their team members to share personal news as a way to compensate the lack of the common chat about their lives that usually takes place sooner or later when a physical office is shared.

Special care is also recommended about clarifying goals and guidelines and establishing a common purpose or vision (explaining and repeating often the reason of working together and the benefits that will result of that). Particularly vital in the case of virtual teams are guidelines about interaction between members. For instance, multitasking on conference calls should be banned, as full attention is needed when using communication technologies that are not able to fully replace the subtle signals of personal interaction beyond a voice.

Not leaving it all to virtuality

Fostering touchpoints is also critical. Virtual teams should come together as often as possible. To do so, some specific stages of the working process are more important than others. Kickoff should be one of these for sure, using a first face to face meeting to star working in some of the key points mentioned (clarifying team goals or encouraging trust, for instance). If any proper project management stablishes milestones, when dealing with virtual team leaders can leverage them to get people together for celebrating achievement of short-term goals or cracking problems.

And last but not least, efficient virtual collaboration also depends on using the right technology. According to Ferrazzi, even top-notch virtual teams can fail due to poor technology. In this case, recommendations are not so much about detailed features as about fulfilling general needs especially critical in the case virtual interactions. For instance, facilitating automatic transcriptions or records with a simple click, making easy to search for this content in a database or, while using the right tool for each mission, favor technologies that better help to reproduce face to face interaction (videoconferencing instead of a phone call, for example).

This post is from http://www.co-society.com/making-collaboration-efficient-face-face-possible/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Voluntourism, beyond responsible tourism

Responsible tourism, Voluntourism, Sustainable tourism…are different concepts with a common idea: the tourism activity in which the visitor brings positive impacts to the destination, either to alleviate poverty, to help in the development of the local economy, rebuilding areas affected by natural catastrophe, etc.

With regards to the kind of people interested in these types of tourism activities, they are not all moved by the same motivations and goals. The visitor travels either passively (holiday trip + sightseeing), actively (holiday trip + volunteering) or as a volunteer (volunteering trip).

Nowadays, Latin America and Asia are the continents offering most of these programs. There are both outbound and incoming travel agencies specialized in this type of tourism, and some tour operators have developed business units based on responsible tourism, whereas in Africa volunteering holiday programs are more popular than responsible tourism programs.

Also in Eastern Europe some countries are discovering in this type of tourism a new source of revenue for its poorest regions. Other Western countries such as the USA, Germany, France, Spain or Italy have also included strategies for the development of volunteering tourism products in their tourism development plans.

These type of holiday programs let the visitor truly discover the local culture, staying in local homes or accommodation facilities managed by locals, visiting the destination and cooperating in different social projects. Some examples may be:

  • Helping in building homes for refugees or in the poorest areas of the destination
  • Working as a teacher in primary schools or supporting in sport camps for children
  • Cooperating with an NGO dealing with the victims of a natural catastrophe
  • Participating in an ecotourism program where to work in the preservation of the environment

Some portals like Xmigrations.com work as a search engine for activities and accommodation where you may find nature, sport and spiritual activities in places where you can work in exchange for a free stay.

http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-solidario-y-volunturismo/

Culture changeInnovative cultureCollaborative cultureOpen innovationCo-creation

Shared decisions feel better

 “The social networks potential to turn every citizen into an agent for the improvement of the community is huge” says Alfons Cornella –Spanish Innovation leader- in his book “The solution starts by CO”.

During the last few years it has become fashionable that destinations outsource part of their promotion activities to visitors and local community members. In what could be called co-creation processes, many destination management and promotion bodies have decided to celebrate public elections to select their logos and slogans. In this election there is first a period to receive proposals, and at the end of this period the public election takes place.

At first it may sound very open and transparent. So long as both the logo and the slogan are to become key elements of the destination image, it is good that everybody can express their opinion about it. However, this system may entail some risks. Those who vote probably choose their vote according to purely esthetic criteria, without considering aspects related with the value promise of the destination, or its desired positioning, the targets, etc. As a result of these processes there have been some bad experiences.

The main issue is that the chosen logo and/or slogan should be in accordance with the destination strategy, which is usually defined in a Strategy Plan according to the destination leaders’ criteria. It is therefore necessary to introduce a filtering phase either before or after the public election, to discard all those logos and slogans that do not match with the destination strategy.

In Spain there has been mainly one experience of this kind, in the Basque Country, driven by the Bilbao City Council and the Bizkaia Province Government. These two institutions had been collaborating for a long time, up to the point that they shared a stand in the FITUR Tourism Fair under the brand BI2. In this way, they wanted to leverage the power of the Bilbao brand to favor also the rest of the Province, so long as the Bizkaia brand is far behind in terms of awareness, despite the worthy resources it has. Bilbao, in turn, has experienced a transformation thanks to the Guggenheim effect and the public-private collaboration, which has led to a sustained visitors’ growth in the city.

Deepening in this collaboration line, they have launched a contest to select their new common logo and slogan. In this case, they opened a public contest for professionals under a detailed briefing. As a result of this idea contest, they received up to 84 proposals from 7 different countries. They were all exposed to the public, though the first selection process was carried out by a commission of experts to present 10 final proposals to be voted for by the public. To facilitate participation, they have installed 6 voting points to let locals vote for their favourite choice.

However, the citizens’ votes will count for only 20% of the final decision. The rest will be responsibility of the experts committee led by Garry White, President of the European Cities Marketing Association.

What do you thing about letting the locals vote for strategic decisions of high symbolic value?

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/las-decisiones-compartidas-saben-mejor/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationTourism trends

Dinner at my home? It’s 30 Euros

What is a SMART destination? These may be defined in many ways. They are destinations that think and advance strategically, improving competitiveness and searching positioning through effectiveness. Becoming a SMART is no more than a strategy to enhance the destination value by leveraging both the cultural and natural heritage, developing innovative resources, improving the efficiency in the production processes and the distribution, which finally propels the sustainable development. This transformation generates positive effects in all sub-sectors such as energy, health services, security, culture, etc. thanks to the cross-destination impact of the tourism activity.

The key concepts that set SMART destinations apart from conventional ones are accessibility, innovation, technology and sustainability. Among these concepts, new technologies are the ones which are more likely to be perceived by the tourist, namely mobile applications, augmented reality and everything related to data smart management.

There are 4 key concepts upon which Smart destinations are developed:

  • Technology/Big Data
    • Innovation
    • Sustainability: social, economic, cultural and environmental
    • Accessibility

The development of the SMART concept in destinations consists mainly in working to attain a higher profitability in the daily exploitation of the resources. This is to be achieved by engaging both the local community and the tourists in order to enhance interaction between them. There are already some examples of Smart destinations, such as El Hierro island in the Canary Archipelago. Some of its main achievements are the energetic self-sufficiency and the pollution reduction, which have been achieved through actions such as:

  • Waste converted into energy
  • Environment camouflage of telecom and energy facilities and equipment (solar panels, antenna, etc.) within the landscape.
  • Reduction of the visual impact in the buildings and facilities construction, by using local volcanic stone instead of bricks.
  • It has gained awareness and branding by sharing and marketing its experiences in the social networks.

Other actions carried out in SMART destinations encompass:

  • Mobile Applications
  • Tourism Intelligence System, including data transportation and information Smart management, which altogether turn the destination into a SMART destination.
  • Smart office; a common working place where to unify processes which produces a work synergy and allows sense and common methodology guidelines in the transformation towards an intelligent city.
  • Beaches with free wifi

It is important to mention Singapore Smart City, which is on the way to become the first SMART nation worldwide. The country is working on its Master Plan for the next 10 years, which will be focused on the development of smart communities propelled by integration and innovation.

This blogpost is based on http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/smart-destinations/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Collaborative tourism: is it an original business model?

When we talk about collaborative tourism or tourism peer to peer, we refer to a new trend in the way of traveling based upon sharing basic resources such as accommodation, transport means or personal experiences with other travelers through platforms where the host publishes his/her offer and the tourist makes the booking.

Theoretically, this phenomenon comes from the collaborative economy model, where consumers may also become suppliers by sharing their means with other consumers, also operating on a global scope, prioritizing human relationship above competition and selfishness. The presentation results in being attractive to more and more tourists, who do not really know the business model completely.

Due to the constant transformation of the virtual economy, the task of identifying and describing virtual business models has turned to be quite hard. However, since this P2P platform business model usually determines it’s success, it is no longer unknown: platforms meet the needs of both supplier and buyer, and take a commission from the booked services price.

Checking the four main collaborative platforms operating in Spain for the four types of services available (eating, accommodation, transport and experiences), we find that their revenue sources are not so different from the traditional tourism intermediation models:

  • AirBnB: charges a commission between 6 to 12%, plus 3% of the conversion rate.
  • BlaBlaCar: depending on the amount of the transaction, it charges 1,60€ for transactions from 1 to 8€ or a commission of 20% for transactions of more than 8€.
  • EatWith: it takes a commission of 15% of the transaction.
  • Trip4Real: it takes 25% of the transaction.

A similar procedure is used for any other tourism intermediary, such as a travel agency, a tour-operator, broker, etc. The difference remains in that these intermediaries comply with the regulations in terms of safety, health and taxes, whereas most of the accommodation and transport means offered in the collaborative platforms do not comply with them.

Therefore, the consumer of collaborative platforms pays a lower price due to the non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations, and takes the risk of suffering any kind of accident without the safety prevention means. Furthermore, despite the social sharing philosophy upon which the platform is created, many suppliers operate for profit rather than for the aim of sharing cost or experiences. However, this is difficult to prove and control.

The hospitality sector’s opinion. The outburst of the tourism collaborative platforms has transformed many housing apartments into competitors for the hotels and regulated tourist apartments, and so it has turned into an important issue for the Public Administration.

According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Apartments, there are only two possible solutions to this conflict: the total banning of the platform operations –as has happened in many major cities-, or the obligation for the apartments to comply with the same regulations as the current regulated tourist apartments.

It is necessary to take into account that the tourism sector in Spain is hyper-regulated. There are around 250 regulations at the European level referring to intellectual property, consume, safety and payment means, plus those from the local administration. All in all it entails a great deal of costs that do not apply to the collaborative platform operators, including the VAT, the police files, fiscal and sanitary costs. This is clearly a case of unfair competition. In this regard, there are many points to consider:

  • The regulations applying to these tourist housing apartments are different for every region in Spain, for it is necessary for the destination regulators to study them all in detail.
  • It is necessary to consider the product separately from the platform, taking into account that the platform operation is similar to the traditional channels such as the travel agencies, and so the same regulations should apply.
  • The evolution of the global society is likely to propel this paradigm beyond the current conditions, demanding solutions in terms of adapting the new regulation and policies.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-colaborativo/

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovative cultureMarketing 3.0

Making collaboration efficient when face to face is not possible

As it has been explained in many posts, content and product co-creation is in the core of Marketing 3.0, though to leverage a significant share of the stakeholders’ creativity potential it is necessary to think of virtual co-creation methods, to complement co-creation workshops and other face to face activities. However, beyond the technological tools such as video-conference, it is necessary to know how to manage virtual co-creation. This article provides many clues to do so successfully.

Started as a simple experiment in social media, in 2010 composer and conductor Eric Whitacre called out to his online fans to record themselves singing “Sleep” by the British choir Polyphony and upload the result. Impressed by the result, he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, then asking fans to sing along to that. This way, the first Virtual Choir was created. The results of that experiment quickly became viral. Now with more than fifteen million views, the Virtual Choir phenomenon has reached all corners of the world, inspiring more and more singers to join each year.

Beyond its beauty and emotional impact, Virtual Choir also fascinated because its implications regarding the potential new uses for new communication technologies and as one of the first virtual experiences turned into something real. The Virtual Choir can also be considered as an important remainder for how businesses might overcome the challenges of virtuality to benefit from innovative and more efficient business processes, customer relationships or forms of production, from co-innovation and co-production to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or open source.

Not even leaving the limits of a corporation or a company, working remotely can offer operational flexibility, happier employees and lower costs, but to team up virtually with colleagues and coworkers can also pose important challenges. As we know, truly efficient collaboration presents no few difficulties. Virtual collaboration raises even more added complications that require even more care. But as the concept of the extended enterprise becomes more common and most professionals can do their jobs from anywhere, the more critical becomes to get virtual teams right. But how?

Getting right four pillars for virtual collaboration

The answer is not easy. Different studies carried out during the last decade seem to conclude that most of virtual groups fail to satisfy the expectations of companies and their clients. In another study conducted by Deloitte some years ago most of CEO’s and other managers interviewed still considered face-to-face interaction much more productive that virtual communication, and nearly half of them admitted ignorance and confusion about collaboration technologies and their potential.

But some other experts consider is all about how these teams are managed. An Aon Consulting report found that dispersed teams, when run accordingly to this condition, could outperform those sharing the same office space (recording up to 43% higher efficiency). A study of 80 global software teams conducted by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management concluded that virtual teams can improve employee productivity when they are properly managed.

But, what do they mean by “properly managed” or “run accordingly to its virtual condition”? According to Keith Ferrazzi and based on his research and experience helping all sort of organizations as customers of his consulting firm, there are four critical elements to get right: right teams, right leadership, right technology and right touch points.

Size is important (the smaller, the better)

We have recently wrote in this blog about how important is to consider people mindset and attitude for working collaboratively beyond their professional knowledge and other skills. Ferrazzi agrees people should first of all be specially suited to work in virtual teams, backing for instance profiles with good communication skills or high emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to put them into groups of the right size and implementing and clearly establishing and communicating the right roles for each one.

As we know, smaller groups facilitate collaboration. In the case of virtual teams, size should be even smaller than when face to face interaction is the norm (some studies suggest teams of 5-6 people and no more than 10 in any case). Team members reduce effort when they feel less responsible for output, but this fact can equally be applied to non-virtual teams. Collaboration between people not sharing a physical space should pay special attention to ensure inclusive communication, a quality harder to achieve the bigger the virtual group is.

Good leadership amplified

Managers can maximize the productivity of virtual teams also by developing the right leadership. Again, this is a quality to apply to every teamwork, no matter if virtual or not. But right leadership must be amplified in virtual ones. A study of different engineering groups concluded that the virtual teams that performed best were those with managers with previous experience in leading such work groups.

Encouraging open dialogue, for instance, is particularly important in these cases. Leaders of dispersed groups in particular must push members to be frank with one another as the problems associated with lack of affinity are more common and severe for virtual teams. For similar reasons, virtual collaboration requires an extra effort fostering trust among co-workers. Ferrazzi mentions the case of a fully virtual organization that encourage new hires to offer video tours of their work spaces, allowing colleagues to mentally picturing their surroundings in later communications. Managers also push their team members to share personal news as a way to compensate the lack of the common chat about their lives that usually takes place sooner or later when a physical office is shared.

Special care is also recommended about clarifying goals and guidelines and establishing a common purpose or vision (explaining and repeating often the reason of working together and the benefits that will result of that). Particularly vital in the case of virtual teams are guidelines about interaction between members. For instance, multitasking on conference calls should be banned, as full attention is needed when using communication technologies that are not able to fully replace the subtle signals of personal interaction beyond a voice.

Not leaving it all to virtuality

Fostering touch points is also critical. Virtual teams should come together as often as possible. To do so, some specific stages of the working process are more important than others. Kickoff should be one of these for sure, using a first face to face meeting to star working in some of the key points mentioned (clarifying team goals or encouraging trust, for instance). If any proper project management establishes milestones, when dealing with virtual team leaders can leverage them to get people together for celebrating achievement of short-term goals or cracking problems.

And last but not least, efficient virtual collaboration also depends on using the right technology. According to Ferrazzi, even top-notch virtual teams can fail due to poor technology. In this case, recommendations are not so much about detailed features as about fulfilling general needs especially critical in the case virtual interactions. For instance, facilitating automatic transcriptions or records with a simple click, making easy to search for this content in a database or, while using the right tool for each mission, favor technologies that better help to reproduce face to face interaction (videoconferencing instead of a phone call, for example).

This post is from http://www.co-society.com/making-collaboration-efficient-face-face-possible/

Business model innovationBusiness trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainability

B2B sharing: the next logical step for Sharing Economy?

As it has been explained in many posts, collaboration is at the core of destinations 3.0. However, we have focused on the collaborative efforts to co-create or co-innovate with the participation of both individuals and businesses. Another type of collaboration is that of the sharing economy, nowadays in the spotlight because of business models such as Uber or Airbnb, based on peer to peer (P2P) collaboration in sharing resources.

But, what about business-to-business sharing?  B2B initiatives of the sharing economy may not be as well known as B2C’s, but some analysts consider the real power of peer-to-peer exchange may be found in B2B transactions, as businesses could better leverage the potential financial and operational benefits of jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon.

But first, it is necessary to be clear about what “sharing” means. Sharing Economy is a term currently used to designate many different ideas that could be also tagged with so disparate concepts as “gig economy” or “collaborative economy”. For the sake of the argument a sharing economy initiative could be described as one activating idle resources for usage, facilitating the paradigm of access versus ownership, and using technology to enable the matching between idle resources and its demand.

There are still many barriers to B2B sharing…

Key differences between B2B and P2P sharing may explain why you might not have heard as much about the B2B sharing economy as you have about B2C/P2P. For start, there is the cultural mindset we have mentioned so often in here: businesses have been shaped for decades to be competitors, not collaborators. The kind of relationships are used to is exclusively transactional. Owning more and better assets than others is supposed to be a key factor for success. Sharing resources does not come naturally to them, even if there is a benefit for doing it.

Then, there is also the legal hurdles or gaps that many P2P or B2C sharing initiatives are still sorting out. These hurdles are understandably more intimidating in the case of business to business interactions. Finally, the quality and user experience of the sharing economy services is also a factor to take into account. While a disappointing experience is not usually going to discourage a consumer to try again a particular P2P service choosing another peer, a business is less likely to pay for shared services when a bad experience could have a more significant consequences than, for instance, a driver too talky or too quiet in a shared ride.

… but its benefits could tip the scales

But these particular barriers for B2B sharing might be rapidly overcome as the economic environment compels business of all kind of shapes and sectors to leverage its benefits. The promising area of shared commercial services is vast and varied in its potential environmental and economic impacts. Certain B2B sharing services could provide many businesses, especially SMEs, with access to once inaccessible resources that those companies have no way to access if not through sharing. Besides, sharing resources streamlines companies, enabling them to operate faster. It can also allows them to react quickly to market changes in a less expensive and more efficient manner.

For instance in manufacturing, where the increasing versatility spur by flexible manufacturing technologies allows companies to share their production facilities and equipment much easier than in the past. Or in areas related with a bigger pressure for sustainability, where sharing large assets with significant carbon footprints as cars, trucks, industrial equipment or buildings can help to reach environment-friendly goals.

Some examples

The number of B2B sharing economy platforms is still low compared with their P2P counterparts, but some business-to-business players are already enabling businesses to share access to assets as such office space or underutilized machinery:

Sharemyoffice.co.uk lets businesses anywhere in the world advertise their spare desks or office space providing a portal for startups to find their first commercial business space.

Yard Club Rental, recently acquired by Caterpillar, provides a way for construction companies to share their equipment by renting it out when not in use by their own companies.

Floow2 is about sharing between companies every aspect of the supply chain… and more. The most popular categories are cars, trucks, meeting rooms, aerial platforms, communication specialist and designer (yes, professionals can also be shared).

Flexe wants to transform how logistics and supply chain professionals manage growth, inventory peaks, returns and new market entry creating warehouse networks that scale as necessary by connecting organizations that need warehousing space to organizations with extra space.

Breather wants to become the Airbnb for office space and meeting rooms.

Storefront specializes in retail spaces available for pop-up shops.

This post is based on http://www.co-society.com/b2b-sharing-next-logical-step-sharing-economy/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture change

Collaboration is a Science. The good news is the MIT is researching on it

Collaboration and collaborative intelligence are deeply ingrained concepts within Tourism 3.0. However, there is a lot to be learnt about how to collaborate effectively and how to optimize the leveraging of the collective intelligence for the benefit of the organization. The good news is that MIT is researching about it through various research lines, as explained in this article.

Are we smarter when we work collaboratively?

Depending to who (and probably when) you ask, a very different answer could be given. Several years ago, James Surowiecki popularized the “wisdom of crowds” effect in the book that coined that term, arguing that the aggregation of information in groups results in decisions that are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. But, on the other hand, we all have also painfully experienced how is possible to have very ineffective groups made up of very smart people. In another bestseller, Quiet, author Susan Cain argued about how organizations undervalue the work and potential of introverts because the social and business cultural obsession with “teamwork”.

So, as usual, the more correct answer to that question is “it depends”. The problem is, we do not know enough about the factors involved in this “it depends”, which is a big ignorance considering we are entering an era in which the concepts of “crowd” or “co-“ are becoming so critical for business and organizations. As we know, different factors push into the direction of making everything more “open” and collaborative, including of course innovation. New communication technologies now allow huge numbers of people all over the planet to work together in new ways. In an increasingly networked world, strict hierarchies are becoming less viable. A new decentralized “bottom-up” management model is needed. And nevertheless, we still do not seem to pay enough attention to understand how collective intelligence works.

The Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT represents an important exception. This first-of-its-kind research effort draws on the strengths of many diverse organizations across the Institute, including the MIT Media Lab, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Dalai Lama Center for 21st Century Ethics and Transformative Values. The Center is laying the foundation for a new multidisciplinary field that involves research challenges impossible to deal with if not from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. This is why works and projects currently developed by the Center involve leading researchers from as different fields as computer science, biology, economics, psychology, social psychology, organizational theory, law and communications.

Understanding collective intelligence

The mission of the Center is to understand collective intelligence at a deeper level that we do today, answering the question of how can people and computers be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before. The answering of this question leads to a view of organizational effectiveness that is very different from the prevailing wisdom of the past. It also suggests different ways of thinking about issues as collective productivity, teamwork or leadership, opening up other new questions as what would it mean for a group of people to be “intelligent” or what can we learn from the ways human brains are organized that might suggest new ways to organize groups of people to perform intelligently.

Basically, the Center for Collective Intelligence develops three types of activity. The first one consists in studying collective intelligence in organizations. These studies include different research projects as, for instance, “Sensible Organizations”, a project using new sensors embedded in wearable “social badges” to systematically analyze organizations at a much finer grained level than has been done before; or “Collaborative Innovation Networks”, a research to help organizations increase knowledge worker productivity and innovation.

Secondly, the Center is also developing theories of collective intelligence by observing the new organizational design patterns that arise, especially in the business world. They have looked at more than 200 examples of what they consider interesting cases of collective intelligence, including Google, Wikipedia, the Linux community, Threadless, and InnoCentive. They call this work “mapping the genomes of collective intelligence”, and includes developing a taxonomy of organizational building blocks that can be combined and recombined to tie together the intelligence of crowds. These works also include examining the factors that affect the “collective intelligence” of a group and using the same statistical techniques used in individual intelligence tests to measure the intelligence of groups.

Finally, the Center for Collective Intelligence is also creating new examples of collective intelligence. The biggest project in that area is called the Climate CoLab, where they’re harnessing the collective intelligence of thousands of people all over the world, to come up with new ideas for solving the problems of climate change. As of February 2016, nearly 50,000 people have registered as members and over 1,500 proposals have been submitted.  In addition to members of the general public, the community includes over 200 experts on climate change and related topics who serve as Advisors, Judges, and Fellows.  The 2015 activities included 15 contests on a range of topics from how to reduce emissions from electric power generation to how towns can adapt to changes brought on by climate change.  Nearly 400 proposals were submitted.

This blogpost is from:

http://www.co-society.com/collaboration-science-good-news-mit-researching/

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Essential reads about collaboration

Collaboration has been on the spotlight of business literature throughout the last years, and so it is difficult to make a good selection when searching for good literature on business collaboration. This article proposes 3 outstanding books that will help you get further insights on this issue.

The Silo Effect

From award-winning columnist, journalist and senior editor for the Financial Times Gillian Tett, The Silo Effect shows the importance of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration for organizations to succeed. It also shows how the lack of this collaboration sends organizations into deep trouble. Probably this is the book on collaboration with the most interesting case studies.  Readers will find cases of organizations getting collaboration right but also of those felled by the lack of it. Specifically, the book includes eight different tales of the silo syndrome: Bloomberg’s City Hall in New York, the Bank of England in London, Cleveland Clinic hospital in Ohio, UBS bank in Switzerland, Facebook in San Francisco, Sony in Tokyo, the BlueMountain hedge fund, and the Chicago police.

Beside the cases, the book also includes some specific suggestions on how some people and organizations can break those silos down to unleash innovation. Author Gillian Tett’s background in anthropology is present when she examines our tendency to create functional departments (silos) or when she answers questions as why do humans working in modern institutions collectively act in ways that sometimes seem stupid, or why are we so often “blind to our own blindness”.

An interesting twist to highlight. Tett does not consider silos as the “evil” player to eliminate. She recognizes silos can also be beneficial, especially in a world as complex as it is today. Silos in the business world can indeed be uniquely valuable containers in terms of organizational efficiency and productivity. But they can also be, of course, major barriers to communication, cooperation and, especially, collaboration. So essentially everything comes to know how to get their benefits but also avoid or prevent their downsides. And Gillian Tett explains how.

Collaborative intelligence

Collaborative Intelligence is the culmination of more than fifty years of original research that draws on Dawna Markova’s background in cognitive neuroscience. Markova and her “Professional Thinking Partner” Angie McArthur are experts at getting brilliant yet difficult people to think together. They share a consulting practice in which they serve as “thinking partners” to clients who need insight in how better to achieve synergistic collaboration within their firm, a group of “patients” that includes some of the world’s top CEOs and creative professionals.

Rooted in the latest neuroscience on the nature of collaboration, Collaborative Intelligence offers tangible tools for those serious about becoming ‘system leaders’ who can close the gap and make collaboration real. This book is full of practical guidance to help the reader to discover his or her own “CQ” or Collaborative Intelligence Quotient. As explained in the book, each individual has a characteristic way of processing cognitive challenges (Mind Pattern), depending on the kind of attention that their brain utilizes: Focused attention, Sorting attention and Open Attention. There are also three languages of thought (Auditory, Kinesthetic and Visual).

Markova includes many worksheets and questions that readers can use to determine not only their own patterns, but those they work with as well. There are also plenty of tips on how to maximize that pattern for effectiveness in personal work and in collaboration with others. Subsequent chapters demonstrate how the knowledge of these languages and triggers can be used in building teams and in optimizing team interactions.

Collaboration begins with you

Collaboration Begins with You focuses on helping leaders at all levels to create and develop a culture of collaboration. Bestselling author Ken Blanchard and his co-authors show that busting silos and bringing people together is an inside-out process that involves the heart (your character and intentions), the head (your beliefs and attitudes), and the hands (your actions and behaviors). From authors’ point of view, clearly none of these “parts” can function without the other. You need your heart, head, and hands to bring about change and build collaboration with others.

An important fact for those who prefer novels to essays. Authors use the business fable as a format to explain a story about creating a collaborative atmosphere in a company, with a main character who is the leader of a cross-department project that fails because the units involved are too competitive with one another. The solution, he learns, is to shift his and other’s heart, head and hands toward collaboration.

This article is from  www.co-society.com/summer-time-reading-collaboration/

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityStrategy

The Collective Impact Framework

Tourism destinations 3.0 set themselves apart by defining a mission in accordance with the communities’ challenges and concerns. Beyond defining this mission based upon all the local stakeholders’ participation, it is necessary to define a common framework to properly align all stakeholders’ goals, strategies and correlated indicators ensuring the optimum impact and mission accomplishment.

As the idea of “coopetition” started to take root in managerial environments, several collaboration frameworks and methods have been tried putting in place. Probably few of them if any became so rapidly popular and inspired so many projects and enthusiastic followers as the one coined as “Collective Impact”.

An original article describing Collective Impact was published in 2011 in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, written by John Kania and Mark Kramer explaining how a much greater progress could be achieved in relation with increasingly complex social and environment problems if all different players involved in finding solutions (from governments and business to non-profits and public in general) were brought together around a common agenda. The framework described was quickly adopted by many foundations and government agencies as a new approach to community coalition building and collaboration. Six years after that first article was published, many social organizations are now declaring they are using a “Collective Impact” approach.

Collective Impact initiatives have been employed in a wide diversity of social issues and challenges including areas such healthcare, youth, education, homelessness or poverty.

Collective Impact is described as “a structured and disciplined approach to bring cross-sector organizations together to focus on a common agenda that results in long-lasting change”. The concept of “collective impact” was used in contrast to the “isolated impact” that organizations achieve when working primarily alone, acknowledging that most organizations lack the ability to solve (social) problems, especially in a context of increasing complexity. Collective Impact framework highlights how large-scale (social) change requires broad cross-sector coordination.

By applying Collective Impact framework companies can leverage the experience of dozens of initiatives and organizations already involving cross-sector coalitions in order to make meaningful and sustainable progress on social issues.

The Collective Impact approach is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organization or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society.  The approach calls for multiple organizations or entities from different sectors to abandon their own agenda in favor of a common agenda, shared measurement and alignment of effort. Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralized infrastructure – known as a backbone organization – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to acting in concert

“… we believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.

The original piece at Stanford Social Innovation Review and follow up articles distilled five key ingredients of successful community efforts that shaped the framework used in so many social initiatives so far. Going over them with business eyes and mindset would confirm if these ingredients or conditions can also be applied out of a social challenge too.

Common Agenda: All participants in a collective effort need to be on the same page. When different players are facing together a problem or challenge, it is critical to share a common understanding of this challenge and a common approach on how to tackle this challenge: It is necessary to clearly define the vision, define the goals that want to be achieved and create common grounds before attempting to address these goals.

Shared Measurement: Measurement is key to guide effectiveness and track progress. Without agreeing on what success means to the collective team is difficult to enable collaboration and catalyze action. It is necessary to agree and manage common indicators used by every player or part involved in the project to ensure shared measurement for alignment and accountability.

Mutually Reinforcing Activities: It is necessary to develop a plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each participant. This will identify ways to work together better and capitalize on individual talents. For this plan of action to be efficient, it is worth first to invest time in understanding the different ways each participant contributes to the common effort.

Open and continuous communication: Communication between all players should be frequent and structured. Proper and fluent communication is a key factor to build trust and assure all goals are mutual and keeps being mutual as the project develops. A good and continuous interaction can also act creating a common motivator. It is important to set up a structured communication plan that can include all kinds of interactions formal and informal and use different tools available.

Backbone organization: all multiplayer initiative needs a group of people maintaining ongoing support for the project strategy, activities, shared measurements and coordinating participating agents. This “backbone organization” can take different forms, but effective leadership will always play a key role in the project success.

This blogpost is from www.co-society.com/collective-impact-framework-collaborate-beyond-social-challenges/

You may also find further information on www.collaborationforimpact.com/collective-impact/