15 October 2007

The Age of Collaboration

Read the following article in CIO Today:

It starts with this unfortunately correct quote from an Accenture executive:

<< When it comes to collaboration, many companies have a long way to go. "We are early in the cycle, maybe the second inning," says David Smith, head of the human performance practice in North America for Accenture, a global consulting and technology services firm. "Companies are beginning to attack it. Very few are getting it right." >>

The Age of Collaboration as the article defines it below is a direct consequence of the Knowledge Economy, considering Knowledge as the most important asset:

<<[…] The 21st century is likely to be the age of collaboration because many of today's problems are complex, often demanding cross-disciplinary expertise. Collaborative technologies are also in demand by companies that have global staffs and greater numbers of employees who telecommute. Supply chains demand collaboration among dozens of companies. Some technical problems are so expensive to tackle that even competitors collaborate. For example, IBM, Samsung Electronics and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing cooperatively develop semiconductor manufacturing processes. ST Microelectronics and others recently joined them. Finally, there's evidence of a societal shift toward collaboration as more workers network around the clock via cell phone and computer. In the July-August 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Neil Howe and William Strauss discuss the effects of generational differences on this trend. Those born between 1982 and 2005 -- the first generation to grow up with mobile digital technology -- expect nonstop interaction and cooperation with peers. "They will tend to treat co-workers as partners rather than rivals ... and use information to empower groups rather than individuals," the authors write. […] >>

And the article concludes with this short but to the point warning:

<<[…] In the years ahead, the winning organizations will be those that learn to be collaborative and share employees' knowledge. >>

How many of these articles will be needed for the majority of leaders to finally understand the importance of a knowledge-sharing culture for their organizations? The ones who wait for their competitors to try it first will regret it.

Peter-Anthony Glick


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