Too many platforms?

Chris raises the question as to whether or not there are too many collaboration platforms out there in his recent post.  I was at an event last week where the social media expert speaking pulled out a database spreadsheet that listed every social network out “there.”  It was over 750 pages and I do not even know how many lines per page.  Granted, many are used one time only or experimental, but even a fraction of the number is overwhelming.  I agree with Chris’ point that many still go back to email to collaborate because it is easy and no thought goes into it.  So many people in businesses still give the response “I have a facebook account and do not even keep that up, how can I mess with this stuff at work?”  Everytime that question is asked of me I realize that the basic question is not answered for this person, which is “how can this help me work better, less and more efficiently?”  Rather than just throwing collaborative tools at people, we need to help them answer this question for themselves first and find the need to use something other than email.  Before you can tell folks to complete their profile and tag stuff we need to give them the WIIFM.  Otherwise it is fragmented and just something else to do.  Thanks for the blog Chris!

August 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Ideas springing forth

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an event where new ideas were presented to a team of corporate executives.  Sure, most of you have been there, done that… but this event had the public, and more specifically women, dive in over the last 90 days and then present their ideas on different offerings to the corporation.  The company is trying to be more direct about marketing to women, so rather than sitting around conference room tables trying to figure out what we want, for the last couple years they have been bringing in groups of women and asking them to brainstorm and then give their take on what is working, not working and present the new ideas that would attract this segment of the market.  I have been involved as a group member (last year) and then as an observer last night.  It is amazing the energy that flies when ideas are springing forth and one idea begets another or an add on to make it even better.  It is also amazing when you see your ideas put into action and watch as the execs take notes, ask questions and commit to you and your ideas. 

It really makes me think once again about the true meaning of collaborating.  These teams of women do not know each other, but they come together for 90 days and figure out how to collaborate with one another and make it worthwhile.  It ends up being a “win/win” for all parties.  The women feel connected and empowered, the company gets another perspective and gains a loyal customer in these women.  Isn’t that what collaboration is?  Coming together to work out the win/win.  It also reminds me that it is not about the technology; many of these women do not use anything more than meetings and email– it is about the willingness to listen, to share and to participate.  Technology is a great avenue for this in so many situations, but we can never forget it is the willingness to collaborate first and foremost.  Happy Collaborating!

August 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Collaboration vs. Silo

I have found myself lately working so much on trying to get others to collaborate or use tools or think how they can use the tools better that I myself became silo’d and cutoff.  Business, kids and volunteer stuff has been keeping me so busy that I have forgotton about the beauty and necessity of collaborating with those I trust and can bounce ideas off of.  So this week, I shifted my silo’d attitude to a collaborative attitude (once again) in my personal life.  Wednesday night I went to a women’s entrepreneue event with Ladies Who Launch on “Sexy Metrics.”   Typically I hate financial metrics and playing the finance hat in my business, BUT this was actually fun and so helpful as well as practical and collaborative!  Bring wine, chocolate and women together and we can make any topic sexy!  Next was my phone call with Joyful Business owner Laura Howard West–believe it or not it was on MONEY again.  OK, so you don’t have to hit me over the head (or maybe you do…).  So finances again and business measurements— I come out of my silo and hear exactly what I need to and can bounce ideas and fears off of others with more and with less experience than I.  It is all good–it was all collaborative, fun, exciting, focused and out of my silo!  I needed a brick and a kick and I got one.  I feel like I am in the world of my great friends again who collaborate with me, support me and always want to help me right where I need it.  Thanks Ladies!

June 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

It’s an inside job

I love Michael Idinopulos’ blog today on Socialtext Blog.  I have blogged on the “inside job” before and collaboration is just that– an inside job.  Michael says his mom always said “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”.  That is so true with collaboration.  If you are not a collaborative person on the inside all the blogs, wikis, communities and tweets will not make you one.  A company’s culture and people have to have that shift.  They need to want t0 move out of the silos.  Otherwise blogs, wikis and communities just become yet another silo of information that is hidden and out of plain view.   And Michael’s other point was great as well– external efforts are only another marketing channel and not truly collaborative unless that information finds its way inside to the corporation.  It is hard to open yourself up to transparency, negative comments and mistakes.  BUT as Michael Jordan has often said “failure is his secret.”  Mistakes and failures are the  way we learn.  When corporations rise above the fear, open themselves up (truly) and share the highs as well as the lows, collaboration starts to happen.  My ideas can only become better when you build on them.  BUT you can only build on them if I let you in…  what’s on the inside counts.  Michael and his mom are right!

May 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm 1 comment

Chris Hughes, Facebook and Obama

Great story in Fast Company this week about Facebook Co Founder Chris Hughes and the Obama campaign.  There has been such press around the fact that he is only 25 and has had such an amazing impact.  Not to take anything away from his success, BUT his generation is the generation of collaborative thinking, sharing, being the “go to person”, etc.  I think Chris’ story is inspiring and makes me want to do more in this arena, BUT I think GenXers and GenYers will have many of these stories over and over again.  They are online, they are socializing and whether Chris calls it community or not, they are the definition of community.  When I compare the way my generation did things (baby boomer) with my kid’s generation the differences are endless and many of them, like the sharing of information are great improvements.  Read the article and enjoy.  He is a great model for all of us, not just the “young ones”!  Happy Collaborating!

March 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

My Collaboration Practices

Recently Brett published a post called “My Personal Collaboration Rules”.  I loved the blog, and it made me think about my own collabortion practices and I did a little comparing in the process.

1. Capture Once– I loved that Brett put that first on his rules.  I have said many a time that the technology will not work for you if it doesn’t replace something or make your life easier.  Who wants to touch things twice?  Waste of time it is then!

2.  Touch it once- Brett called it Process Once– my mantra is “Touch it Once”  It does not matter to me if you are talking an email or cleaning a closet–touch it once. 

3. Resist printing– I must admit printing can be my downfall.  As much as I love the options technology affords me, I must confess that I still love paper at times for reading and for taking notes.  I am trying to clean up my act in this arena however; I am printing less and recycling more but I have a ways to go!

4. Don’t use email to collaborate, use it to communicate.  I really do love this one.  Email is great and I am not a proponent (like some) to do away with it.  BUT let’s use it correctly.  I do fall into the trap at times of collaborating with it; but am a believer in not using it this way.  Use IM,  wikis, blogs, shared workspaces, etc.

5. Links yes, attachements no.  Yes, yes, and yes!

6. Store in a searchable repository.  Sharepoint is a great solution for this along with EMC products.

7. Be a sharer not a hoarder- I think this is easier for some than others. BUT  hoarding information is getting you NO WHERE.  Be the go to person and seek out the go to people.  Stop feeling threatened by giving it away!  Give it away and see it explode!  Ideas blossom once they are out there.  You can’t possible know it all so why not give someone an opportunity to expand on your knowledge and you on theirs!

8. Use real time communication- web conferences, im, etc are great for getting stuff done fast!

Now my added practices:

9. Listen – even when you think you have it 100% correct, listen.  You will probably find out that you really weren’t 100% on and the other person has something worthwhile to contribute.  Afterall collaboration is about the meeting of the minds and ideas right?

10. GO for consensus— again the win/win and consensus mentality makes up Collaboration doesn’t it?  Open Source is a great example.  No one person has all the answers and by working on a collaborative decision by consensus you have the best of lots of worlds and no  one is a loser!

11. Offer up assistance and help.  You know what your niche is–offer it up.  When the tide is turned, someone will offer back to you their expertise.

12. Be a door not a wall.  What I mean by this is be a pathway to information rather than the person that is the block (we can’t, we won’t, etc.).  Keep your door open and let others in.
What about you?  How do you collaborate and keep the CQ going?

Happy Collaborating!

March 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm 2 comments

SoCon09

Friday night and Saturday I had the great opportunity to attend SoCon09.  Sherry Heyl, of Concept Hub gives a great wrap up of the event on her blog.  One of my personal favorites yesterday was Jeff Haynie of  Appcelerator.  His wrap up and his slides can be found here. It was my first attending of a SoCon and I must say the networking and personal connection was incredible.  Such bright people doing such interesting things.  Check out Sherry and Jeff’s blogs.  They also link to other things and have some pictures so check it out!

February 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm 1 comment

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