It’s been about 4 weeks since the last post as I have been in Australia on some R&R including coming down with a dose of pneumonia which left me feeling very flat and delaying my return to Dubai. But back now in Dubai and committed to lots of posts over the next 4 weeks!
And this first one refers to a recent post over at Anecdote on the difference between collaboration and cooperation. Shawn asked me for my views and I mentioned that collaboration is a bit deeper than cooperation. So I felt Ok about that view when looking at a recent post over at Wikinomics referring to differences between coordination, cooperation and collaboration. The figure that they link to from an Economist Intelligence Unit article on the role of trust in business collaboration compares these three items and posits a sort of hierarchy between them with coordination on narrow goals, cooperation on broad but mandated goals and collaboration on shared and common goals where trust is highest, with new value being created that accrues to each party, and with high levels of commitment and specialisation. This echoes my view of collaboration involving more “shared meaning and purpose with smarts. ”
The original EIU article sponsored by Cisco is quite good, based on a survey, and identifies that collaboration is often used to describe what are really cooperative and coordination level tasks as organisations attempt to cash in on the collaboration buzzword. But collaboration is a higher order activity, one that is more bottom up and where trust is a key ingredient. A definitional issue, sort of like the difference between KM and IM (and I won’t go there!).