Asking the wrong questions about colaboration

Reading David Wilcox’s blog this morning entitled ‘Asking the wrong questions about collaboration’. The following question resonatedwith me:-

Effective collaboration requires trust, relationships andunderstanding that take time to develop. Why are so many on-line systemsstill developed on the basis of “build it and they will come and worktogether” … ending up with empty Forums and a lot of money wasted?

I was determined to avoid this problem when I set up the IDeAcommunities by de-emphasising thetechnology and promoting the fact that there was a central team ofpeople who were there to support project and programme managers insetting up their communities of practice. This extended to facilitatingface-to-face launch events which were used to build trust and introduceusers to the social media tools they could use. Given this now has over 2000 members and more than 60 CoPs working across local government, I think the approach was reasonably successful.

This is the model I’m also going to use for the contract I’m workingon for the DfES, where a network of CoP’s will be established acrossthe Further Education Sector as part of a business change management process. The first priority is recruiting communitymanagers who will be out there meeting with various stakeholder groups (e.g. LSC, LLUK, OfSTED, MIAP, QIA and many others) andencouraging greater collaboration within and across these groups as a precursor to developing a purpose-design on-line community (social media) environment. I’ve never believed in just providing the technology and waiting for people to use it.

Thus, I think my approach is about as far as you can get from what they’ve done with GovXchange!

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