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  • Ana Asuero 9:00 am on March 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , collaborative work,   

    The 12 habits of collaborative organizations 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    Yesterday I read that Virginio Gallardo said on Facebook that “the Enterprise Social Network awakens sleeping talent in organizations”. Enterprise Social Networks open a direct and permanent communication channel and facilitate collaboration among your employees, making it easy to share knowledge, tips, doubts and ideas, and waking up personnel in your company.

    Eva Collado Durán replied to Virginio’s thread, pointing out that “they also awaken authentic opinion leaders who are far from higher hierarchical positions .” It’s true. Horizontal communication provided by Enterprise Social Networks places all employees in the same situation and gives them the same opportunities to share their valuable knowledge with colleagues.

    If you don’t share what you know for fear of losing your position, you’ll end up completely isolated. In a scenario where almost everyone is convinced that you work better and achieve goals faster and more easily by working in a team and sharing knowledge, whoever continues to jealously guard their knowledge will end up lagging behind.

    Companies that understand this new situation have become social companies, have implemented collaborative habits in their daily operation. But what are those habits? We’ll give you some of them here according to an interesting article posted by Jacob Morgan (@jacobm).

    1. Individual benefit is just as important as the overall corporate benefit (if not more important)

    Don’t focus on the overall corporate benefits when communicating collaboration with your employees. They also care about how collaboration will impact them on an individual basis. How will it make their jobs and lives easier?

    2. Strategy before technology

    Before rushing off to implement that new collaboration platform, focus on developing a strategy which will help you to understand the “why” before the “how” . Having a strategy is crucial for the success of any collaboration initiative. You don’t want to be in a position without understanding “why”.

    3. Listen to your employees

    We talk a lot about the importance of listening to customers but what about listening to your employees? If you are going to talk about collaboration, it is important you involve your employees from the outset. Listen to their ideas, needs, suggestions and incorporate their feedback in your strategy.

    4. Learn to get out of the way

    Learn to support and empower your employees and get out of their way. If you try to supervise everything, you’ll stifle collaboration in your organization. Give some guidelines and best practices, but let your employees do what they need to do.

    5. Lead by example

    If the leaders in your organization don’t use collaborative tools, why should employees? Leaders are a very powerful instrument for facilitating change and encouraging desired behaviors.

    6. Integrate collaboration in the work flow

    Collaboration should never be perceived as a task or an additional requirement for employees. Instead, it should be integrated naturally into their workflow.

    7. Reward teamwork

    If your organization focuses on rewarding employees for individual contributions as the driver of success, it will be quite hard to encourage employees to share and communicate with each other. There is nothing wrong with rewarding your employees for personal results, but it is equally important to recognize and reward collaboration and teamwork .

    8. Measure what matters

    There are a lot of things that an organization can measure, but that doesn’t mean that everything should be measured. Focus on the metrics that matter in your organization and analyze how you do there. Some focus on metrics like comments sent or groups created; others prefer to focus on the commitment and passion of their employees with the company and the task they perform.

    9. Persistence

    Converting your organization into a collaborative environment will take time and effort, but it is important to be convinced that that is the right direction and to go for it. No giving up, no going back.

    10. Adapt and evolve

    The need for collaboration in organizations is here to stay. This means that your organization must be able to adapt and evolve as tools and strategies demand. Being aware of what is happening in your industry and in your organization. This will also enable you to innovate and anticipate changes successfully.

    11. Employee collaboration also benefits the customer

    Your employees’ collaboration has a tremendous value for your customers. Your employees will be able to give the best support experience if they have the information, resources and experience of internal experts . A employee may not always have the reply the customer needs, but they will have access to the knowledge of the entire organization to resolve the problem .

    12. Collaboration can make the world a better place

    Perhaps the most important principle of collaboration is that it can make the world a better place. Sure, collaboration can make your employees more productive and also benefit your customers. It makes your employees to feel more connected with their co-workers, reduces stress, makes their job easier, gives them more freedom, and in general, makes them happier people, not just at work but at home too.

    And in your organization, what collaboration strategies have you put into action? What are your habits for becoming collaborative organizations? Tells us about it! :-)

     

     
  • Sonia Ruiz 9:00 am on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collaborative work, , , , , , , ,   

    [Whitepaper] Keys to convincing your director to implement an enterprise social network 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    You know all the benefits of implementing an Enterprise Social Network in your company…

    but you’re not sure how to convince your boss?

    Well, you’re in luck! Because today we are delighted to present the collaborative whitepaper by PrideCom and Zyncro with the key arguments for convincing management to incorporate an enterprise social network.

    This methodology is the first in a full series of reports that we will present over the coming months from Zyncro, your Enterprise Social Network, and PrideCom, the first Internal Communication 2.0 agency in Spain and one of the pioneers worldwide.

    In this whitepaper, you will find:

    1. Tips for approaching the internal sale phase of the project, with a special focus on how to argument the strategic objectives and benefits that it will bring the organization
    2. An exhaustive TO-DO list so nothing is left out
    3. A list of the myths that you will have to face, as well as their counter-arguments so that you leave no room for doubt.

    If you follow the steps we give you, we’re sure your boss will end up saying: When do we start?

    Download the whitepaper and become one of the first to get the best tool for selling a social project internally: Zyncro & PrideCom Thinking about implementing an enterprise social network, but not sure how to convince your boss?

    If after reading it you think you need some support in building arguments adapted to your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help you to make your internal sale a success. Write to us at: fans (@) pridecom.es and we will look at your case in more detail.

    Thanks to Zyncro’s experience with its customers and PrideCom’s expertise in cultural transformation, we will publish the essential methodological guidelines to make implementation of your Enterprise Social Network a complete success.

    Start by downloading the whitepaper and continue by putting your ideas into practice. You’ll soon see the results :-)

    “Social attitude has an impact on your income statement”. So we need to present the impact that a digitalization project can have on business to management if we want them to buy in. This way, if you are thinking about embarking on a digital transformation initiative in your company, this whitepaper is perfect for you. It contains practical advice to approach the influence phase with management, an exhaustive TO-DO list so that nothing is left out, and a list of myths that we usually find in companies that will help you to structure your own arguments for internal sale.

    With this document, you will save the first stage in adopting a social project… and in a second stage you’ll have the challenge of converting your boss into a SuperCo leader, but more about that in another episode.

    What are you waiting for? Click here to download the whitepaper: Thinking about implementing an enterprise social network, but not sure how to convince your boss?

    Sonia Ruiz Moreno (@soniaruizmoreno) has more than 12 years’ experience in Corporate Communication in multinational environments. She is founder of PrideCom, the first Internal Communication 2.0 agency. Master’s in Corporate Communication from the Université de Lille III in France, degree in Journalism from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and member of the Internal Communication Board of DIRCOM. Speaker and lecturer at several business schools on Internal Communication 2.0

     

     
  • Rafael Garcia-Parrado 9:00 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , collaborative work, cooperation, ,   

    The need for cooperation in new companies 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    The continuous changes which organizations undergo due to technology advances have become a key trend that generates uncertainties regarding the function of HR in organizations. The function of HR is at a crucial situation as the backbone of the organization and a promoter of change. Market requirements, the wave of constant change, short-lived trends… are some of the reasons for new organizational structures that allow organizational adaptability in the new way of understanding relations in companies.

    The vision of HR as a static or hermetic department must become a thing of the past, transforming it into the first line of internal contact in companies, guiding employees towards opportunity, and supporting intra-entrepreneur figures to ensure the success of the change.

    Cooperation must be a shared pattern throughout the company and therefore requires employees’ involvement to favor a collective constructivism that improves efficiency. And to favor that cooperation, we need to facilitate decision-making and do away with hierarchical structures, because imposed hierarchy can prevent the conversion of ideas emerging from the heart of the organization. By removing this hierarchy, companies will be able to escape from the standardization and the bureaucratization of processes.

    But who said that drawing together all that knowledge was easy? Leading the change, being the organizational glue, requires HR having a method to ensure success. Let’s look at some aspects that need to be taken into account:

    • Organizational transparency, a suitable communication must be the shared pattern throughout the organization.
    • The use of tools 2.0 will enable reinvention in the new scenario, guaranteeing a sensitivity towards new trends and advances to bring organizations closer to the external customer.
    • Learning as a goal of the organization for constant improvement of the production processes, enabling a moldability that guarantees survival over time.
    • Transmission of the business strategy to the entire organization, which helps focus all activities towards achieving the main act of faith or raison d’etre of the organization.

    In short, companies become liquid to adapt to the new changing scenario that prevails in the market and to its requirements, and new organizational structures emerge. But despite the wave of constant change that invades business today, we need to remember that adapting the organization to change is not immediate, rather for large companies, a major investment of resources and time is required. But thanks to those necessary changes, collaboration will become a key base for companies and will enable them to assume the challenge of the new organizational capillarity required for success in the new scenario.

    Rafael García works as a consultant at the company Índize and writes his own blog, which at Zyncro we highly recommend: La Factoría Humana.

     

     
  • Manel Alcalde 9:00 am on August 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , collaborative work, ,   

    Creativity, a collective affair 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    As a kid, I always wanted to be an inventor. I guess I hadn’t fallen out with sciences yet (although I now know they are most definitely not my strong point), and my misconceived stereotype of the inventor suited my personality, a more solitary person, or so I thought. For me, creation was a private terrain. I didn’t see the collective side. That was more for those who wanted to be athletes or firemen, and I didn’t like competing, and certainly not putting out fires.

    Like me, many other kids dreamed about being “individual creators”, because we grew up learning that creativity was a personal affair. At school, they taught us that humanity’s great inventions were the work of specific people. When we thought of revolutionary inventions, we’d think of Edison, Morse, Gutenberg and the other members of the “club of great minds.” What’s more, those of us who love reading grew up with a wealth of classical literary works concocted around the figure of the inventor, books by authors like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Stevenson or Mary Shelly who played with the romantic idea of the obsessed aloof inventor who defied the laws of science in the darkness of their basement laboratory.

    We were also taught to associate creativity exclusively with art. That reductionist view has fed limited beliefs (many people don’t see themselves as being creative due to the mere fact that they don’t perform an artistic activity) and has immortalized that individualistic concept of creation. We admire the works of Picasso, Mozart or Tolstoy, men who we imagine giving form to their works behind the closed doors of their studios with a note “Do not disturb. Genius at work” stuck to the door.

    This cultural prejudice makes us forget that, as technology has advanced and the demand for innovation has become more complex and challenging, creation has transformed into a collective act. Great inventions of the 20th century like the Boeing 747 or the space shuttle were developed by teams, and like them, many other things. The stereotype of the crazy aloof inventor no longer has meaning, and yet we are still anchored to that romantic idea about creativity, maybe because when we think about the creative process, we give too much importance to the initial idea and forget about the development and implementation stages.

    Yet two things are clear: first, ideas don’t mean a thing unless they are put into practice. Their development and implementation are vital and hence, creativity is, to a certain extent, an instinct for production. Secondly, not all of us are as resourceful as Capitan Nemo. Most times, more than just a brilliant mind is needed to crystalize an idea. Sure enough, especially when developing complex products, the creative process is necessarily a group concept and involves people coming together from different backgrounds and disciplines to work effectively so that the idea doesn’t become a forgotten scribble at the back of a drawer.

    Nowadays, now more than ever, innovation goes hand in hand with collaboration.

    In the world of enterprises 2.0, creative processes are open to members from different departments and crowdsourcing is essential. The team is the primordial figure, as opposed to the highly specialized worker of the Tayloristic company. The question of innovation in modern companies is more than just entrusting oneself to the intellectual geniuses of some individual minds, rather it’s about how to take advantage of collective creativity. Along this line, enterprise social networks can help to leverage the potential of co-creation, both by decentralizing power, removing barriers between departments and ensuring the exchange of knowledge.

    The means seem to be there. Now the challenge for modern companies is to maximize the efficiency of its teams. To do this, we need to abandon classic conceptions and think that in collaborative work, the question is not to measure how creative each member of the team is, rather to find out in which part of the process each individual can become more decisive. Group analysis techniques like that of Creative Problem Solving Profiles, which analyze which role each individual plays in collective creation processes and differentiates between five basic profiles in any team (“generator”, “conceptualizers”, “optimizers”, “implementer” and “integrators”) Balancing the presence of each profile, we can create teams with optimum performance and avoid absurd situations like an “excess of generators”, for example, which would open numerous paths of action but none would be carried out. This innovation tool is a widespread method and many enterprises use it with great results, basically resulting in more innovation in less time and with less conflict. I think it is interesting because it makes us see that we all have different aptitudes and weak points, and we all interact in the creative process in a specific way, and we always can be a determining factor in some part of the innovation. In modern organizations, there is no place for solitary geniuses: Creativity is a collective affair and a balancing competences is a requirement for optimizing results.

    Manel Alcalde is creative writer, audiovisual producer and digital communicator. In his personal blog, Nionnioff, he writes about creativity, communication and narrative.

     

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collaborative work, ,   

    The Foosball theory: Three key points to internal communication and teamwork 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Introduction: Through a communication colleague, I heard about this article by Pachi Lanzas, expert in internal communication with extensive experience in charge of this function in companies such as Banco Santander Central Hispano, Acciona or Vodafone Spain, among others. Pachi wrote this post thinking about Relatos Corporativos, which fills me with pride.

    Teamwork. A cinch, right? We all work in teams. We have all received hundreds of courses, we all put it down as one of our skills in our resumes… No one would dare to say that they don’t teamwork Could you imagine the look on the recruiter’s face if you told him in the interview that you don’t know how to work in a team?

    Yes, we do it. We all share the same objectives, the same strategies, the same values. The guys at Internal Communication have done their jobs and we’ve learnt it all by heart. But what exactly does us working in teams mean? I think—which may be wrong, of course—in most cases it meets the foosball theory.

    I’m sure you’ve played foosball once or twice, right? Or at least, you’ve seen it played. In foosball, each row has its own zone. When the ball arrives, you spin that row. They all have the same goal: win the game. All “collaborate”: they pass the ball, defend, etc. But do they work as a team? No.

    To work in a team, you need to walk “in the shoes” of the other members of the organization. You need to “leave your comfort zone” and mix. Discover what they do and how you can collaborate better and create what we call “synergies”.

    And what does Internal Communication have to do with all that? How can it support the game “between the rows”? I propose three key ideas:

    1. Social networks. There are a great many experiences that have worked. Nowadays, the most obvious thing to do is to use social networks (See Five keys for approaching an internal communication 2.0 model) to improve internal communication flow.
    2. Design inter-area interaction plans. But is that it? Not even close. Knowing how to pass the ball between rows doesn’t mean that they know each other or “mix”. For that reason, you need to design interaction plans between different areas of the organization.
    3. Analysis and action plan. That’s what we consultants are for. I’m not going to explain what I would do in each organization, basically because I don’t believe there are any magic formulas valid for all. In each case, you need to make a careful, serious analysis of the situation and take your action plan from there.

    Foosball is a fun game. If you give a group of kids a Playstation or a foosball, 85% will choose foosball (I’ve tested that theory out). But in an organization, it’s not a game and it’s not as fun.

    Pablo Fuentes is internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Ignasi Alcalde 9:00 am on June 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , collaborative work   

    Collaboration readiness: preparing ourselves for a culture of collaboration 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes.

    In a complex a world as ours nowadays, collaboration is essential for generating knowledge, innovation and social balance. Collaboration requires trust and comes from generosity, as without generosity in small doses, collaboration wouldn’t be possible. Examples like Genius Crowds, where you can share new product ideas, or Shareable are illustrates of this change in paradigm.

    The book “The Penguin and the Leviathan”, by Havard Law professor Yochai Benkler, gives a simple but exhaustive vision of literature on collaboration and how it is seen through the prism of economics, sociology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology… among other disciplines. It also reflects on how collaboration is the most valuable weapon for the well-being of society. The book describes scientific studies and an endless number of examples, based on the Internet, that reveal that humans are not as inherently selfish and socially retrograded creatures as economists would like us to believe. Examples are shelled out that cover management culture at Toyota and Southwest Airlines, the digital gift economies of GNU / Linux, Wikipedia and CouchSurfing. The “penguin” of the title refers to the Linux logo, the free software OS that Benkler considers to be emblematic of the new cooperation mode. He dubs as “Leviathan”, which according to Wikipedia is a sea monster from the Old Testament, the hierarchical top-down systems where control and coercion are key, as opposed to the age of digital networks and cooperation.

    Personally I believe that without a collaborative culture, there is no participation, and hence, there is no single shared vision.

    ”We need to build a culture of collaboration, not implement a collaboration of different cultures.” In other words, collaboration starts in the mind of the people, not in the inheritance and adaptation of existing business culture.

    We also need to be clear that we can’t waste time with traditional metrics. It doesn’t matter how many times a person posts or how many messages they leave in the forum… What matters is how that person participates. So we need a new open, connected and transparent leadership business philosophy. If you want collaboration to occur, you need to have coherent leaders that win trust and respect for doing what they say. For setting the example.

    In the changing complex context in labor terms, I ask myself whether collaboration could be another form of independent work to explore, where rewards can be monetary or not, and where ethics takes precedence and power is more transparent.

    I want to finish with a quote from Martin Nowak: “Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of evolution is its ability to generate cooperation in a competitive world”. We lack a culture of commons, empathy, solidarity, as well as of social norms of equality and trust. If only we realize the benefits and the psychological/social consequences of collaboration at a social and global scale.

    Ignasi Alcalde is Social Business Advisor and teaching consultant at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

     

     
  • Nuno Bernardes 9:00 am on June 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , collaborative work, , , ,   

    The collaborative work revolution is here: Zyncro at Social Now 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    I know of a country of navigators that has been pioneer in discovering new routes of collaboration and communication between countries and cultures. A country that has taught the world that “peaceful” revolutions can also be effective in the change process.

    At Zyncro, in collaboration with Knowman, we are proud to make our first visit to this country, participating in the event Social Now. We want to show our contribution to this collaborative work revolution in businesses.

    Olá Portugal! Let’s zyncronize? :-)

    What is Social Now 2012?

    Social Now is an international event with a unique format, conceived to provide the exclusive insight of world-known professionals who have extensive experience in creating, using, and adopting collaborative tools in business. Representatives from some of these organizations (including Zyncro) will present their tools as a response to business cases defined by the organizers. Furthermore, a panel of independent experts will share their experience and knowledge of the major trends in this field, and will highlight the strategic decisions required to adopt these tools in businesses.

    Where and when is it happening?

    Social Now takes place on June 27 & 28 at Hotel Holiday Inn Porto-Gaía Oporto, Portugal.

    Who is it aimed at?

    Mainly at executives and middle management (from Europe to Brazil) who are interested in discovering the current trends in social collaborative tools, sharing their opinions and solving their doubts with the best professionals in the sector, as well as being a meeting point for networking.

    What will be discussed?

    This congress will discuss issues like:

    Key factors in decision-making when choosing a collaborative tool

    • The social organization

    • The modes of social collaboration tools

    • And there’ll be demonstrations of the tools based on corporate environment scenarios: innovation in companies, collaborative projects, and knowledge management

    For more information, here you have the full schedule of Social Now 2012.

    Join Zyncro at a unique event where we show the use of our enterprise social network as a collaborative tool for your business. Sign up now! Aguardamos a tua presença!

     

     
  • Rafael Garcia-Parrado 9:00 am on June 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , collaborative work   

    The new organizational architecture 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Editor’s note: This week we’re lucky to welcome another ZyncroBlog contributor! Rafael García holds a degree in Labor Sciences and a Master’s degree in Business Management. Currently he is undertaking a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Organization. He also works as a consultant in the company Índize and has his own blog, which at Zyncro we recommend you check out: La Factoría Humana. Welcome to the Zyncrommunity, Rafael!

    Currently we are experiencing a change in the organizational paradigm that has predominated in recent years, where productivity and hierarchy went hand in hand.

    One of the characteristics of globalization and a clearly Western ailment is the speed. Companies are undergoing a period of uncertainty that requires a fast response to adapt to new market conditions and consumer demands.

    To meet these challenges, undoubtedly mobilizing talent will be a key factor, which will have a bearing on organizations’ competitiveness.

    The raw material of organizations is knowledge, allowing them to survive over time. Knowledge is a lasting competitive advantage. It needs to be fed through a collective process where employees must contribute their know-how.

    Organizations need to install a horizontal structure where collaboration is paramount, provided by the right communication among employees. Nowadays, the many technological advances favor collaboration and communication despite the scattered offices and people. All this together with greater employee empowerment enables organizational development, thanks to the creation of a framework for action in organizations.

    Managing talent in organizations is essential in finding those people who meet companies’ requirements, aligning individual goals with organizational ones. Encouraging a collaborative environment will help decision-making as well as innovation, seen as something useful that favors a change in mentality. This systematic search for knowledge ensures a constant update, which improves the organization’s positioning in the market.

    Technological advances will help us to create and establish a framework for collaboration, as well as a network of contributors who will help us to stay abreast of the changes happening by establishing a system to monitor these changes that enables and helps decision-making. And more importantly, it will make companies convert into learning systems: creating, acquiring and transmitting knowledge to improve their competitive position.

    However, the autonomy that this new organizational paradigm seeks to provide, where all employees have decision-making power, on some occasions may be counterproductive, as the lack of filters may cause mediocrity in the actions performed. Hence, it is important to establish some type of filter to ensure the means selected are suitable and are of quality.

    In short, collaboration becomes a key cornerstone and organizations need to oscillate in search for competitive improvement that will enable them to survive in the market.

     

     
  • Manel Alcalde 9:00 am on June 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , collaborative work   

    Collaborative networks: overcoming the “PowerPoint thinking” 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    Editor’s note: Firstly, at Zyncro, we would like to welcome our new blog contributor, Manel Alcalde, creative writer, audiovisual producer and, as he says himself, a wannabe digital communicator. In his personal blog, Nionnioff, he writes about creativity, communication and narrative. He himself says that he’s delighted to zyncronize with our readers and we’re sure you’ll enjoy many of his articles. Thanks, Manel, and welcome to Zyncro Blog 😉

    I had never thought about it: PowerPoint arose as the first digital tool for collaborative work in companies. I read it in the book by Franck Frommer, “How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid: The Faulty Causality, Sloppy Logic, Decontextualized Data and Seductive Showmanship that Have Taken Over Our Thinking”, which beyond criticizing the communicative style created by one of the most used IT programs in the world, I believe questions a certain work and cooperation model in the corporate world. Frommer’s vision perhaps may seem a little exaggerated to more than a few, or even antiquated (PowerPoint is clearly a 1.0 product), but I think reading this book can remind us of some of the aspects of business collaboration dynamics that new technology solutions and the 2.0 culture can and should help us to improve.

    What can we do to end the “PowerPoint thinking”?

    1. Promote continuous exchange of information and productive discussions

    According to Franck Frommer, the Power Point age was the era of meeting-shows, in which communication between employees was given essentially done against a sales-style presentation backdrop, in which it demanded getting to the point, highlighting key concepts (those “bullet lists”), and encouraging action without losing too much time in discussion. “The idea of collective work, with thinking based on debate and the exchange of views, became difficult, because it was less efficient, not fast enough therefore not profitable, and in the end, old-fashioned. PowerPoint definitively transformed the work meeting into a spectacle”. In the age of enterprise social networks, where interaction between employees is virtualized and made easier and where exchange and discussion no longer have to take place within the framework of the “meeting”, it seems that this black spot has been overcome. The fact that collaboration is a process integrated in daily life and not an “event” seems to allow us to work with more detailed information and less simplified points, while encouraging a rich, authentic discussion in a more flexible environment.

    2. Encourage honest and healthy collaboration

    Frommer talks about a paradox, collaboration based on narcissism and control. The communicative proactivity that arrived in the business world with the rise in the multidisciplinary approach and the birth of PowerPoint was adopted by employees, according to the author, in a sort of exhibitionism, designed to achieve that their activity was visible and valued. In “presentation” companies, PowerPoint worked as a test and justification of the work done. Each employee became both controlled and the controller of others in the de-hierarchized company. Or as Frommer says, for “an autonomous and creative ‘collaborator’ who likes to work in a team and knows how to communicate, but is constantly subject to the gaze and the judgment of others in the context of meetings and presentations that operate as so many trial scenes and sites for evaluation”. What is “collaboration” based on in an organization 2.0? Is it a philosophy that seeks to achieve common goals or is it essentially an instrument used for business control and personal promotion?

    I think that, without a doubt, collaborative work in our era should be based on honest participation in a corporate project, and not just on a culture of “monitoring” or the narcissistic exposition of talents and individual achievements.

    3. Find more quality in content and form

    In creative worker companies, says Frommer, the need to generate contents continuously encourages the copy-paste culture and provokes a dynamic wheregenerating noise” is more commonplace than producing useful content. This question, inherited from the “PowerPoint age”, not only concerns enterprise networks nowadays, but social networks in general. What volume of valuable contribution and of noise is there in our activity 2.0? I believe it’s a good question to ask ourselves, as collaboration needs to be focused on the common goal and stimulate the contribution of value above and beyond the frequency, priming quality above quantity. On the other hand, if the birth of PowerPoint involves an increase in the linguistic dimension of work, in the Web 2.0 world, this has doubled. As employees, we all become content generators, through multiple platforms and formats, but…what happens to our communicative abilities? PowerPoint, according to Frommer, transforms language into “an institutional, bureaucratic and administrative idiom in which ready-made formulas and all-purpose expressions flourish”, and in a form of “infantile communication”. We may disagree with this point of view, but perhaps we should ask ourselves how we should look at the issue of communicative abilities in the employee in an age of maximum expressive democracy. In a business world that starts to encourage its employees to participate by co-creating contents that the company shares through the web, I think a certain pedagogic gap needs to be overcome on the issue of redaction inherited from the “PowerPoint age”.

    4. Abandon “the infinitive”

    “PowerPoint implies an idea of exchange and debate, interactivity, whereas all its language, fragmented and elliptical, encourages only slogans, commands, and authority. The software is also supposed to enable the individual to express creativity and affirm autonomy, but this goal is hindered by an extremely formalized framework in which the effacement of the speaker is manifest and the neutrality of the statements transforms personal expression into all-purpose language that has always already been legitimated”. In other words, although PowerPoint started in the middle 80s to serve the new ideology regarding creativity in the company, for Frommer, it is a unidirectional and poor framework and way of communicating and organizing thinking. It is not an authentic tool for exchange and collective creation, rather an instrument for the transmission of knowledge, in which knowledge is simply presented and staged in an almost propagandistic way, without giving option to participate. One of the typical traits of the program, according to the author, is it “imposes under the appearance of freeing”. In this sense, Frommer’s arguments remind me of those of Jaron Lanier in his book “You Are Not A Gadget”, in which he talks about social networks as tools that claim to stimulate but in reality limit the creativity of the individual by imposing closed environments with pre-established rules. Obviously, Lanier’s argument can be used to question the point to which enterprise social networks give the employee creative freedom, but in any case, it seems to me that “the infinitive” of PowerPoint thinking is more than overcome in the Web 2.0 world that, as we said before, it ends the dynamic of the “presentation” and becomes definitively something collaborative in a process and a space for participation.

    In short, I believe what is important is not finding the flaws in the software (whether it’s PowerPoint or “X” social network), rather to continue questioning the issues in depth. If we promote a “real” collaborative culture, in which apart from implementing “environments” the habit of discussion, exchange and co-creation are encouraged and employees are trained to improve their communicative skills, we can work beyond the limitations that the tools, imperfect, are always going to impose on us.

    Related article on ZyncroBlog: The Challenges of Collaborative Environments

     

     
  • Ignasi Alcalde 10:00 am on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , collaborative work,   

    Collaborative architecture (or added value) 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    More and more companies and organizations are starting to deploy new collaboration strategies and enterprise social networking tools as a core part of their business evolution to connect with and engage employees. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for these actions to become successful immediately in enterprises for two main reasons:

    1. the lack of focus or collaborative architecture
    2. the lack of supervision of these initiatives

    As normally in companies there is no specific role responsible for collaboration.

    Regarding the first point, the lack of focus normally seen from a business perspective, the goals of a corporation before implementing an Enterprise Social Network are essentially: listening, learning, informing, engaging, influencing, as indicated by Josep Baijet from ZyncSocial in his posts Maybe you got Zyncro for one of these reasons?, who has dissected the majority of reasons “why” a company acquired an enterprise social network like Zyncro. What’s more, in his Social Methods, he analyzes the main areas like co-creation, collaboration, conflict resolution, engagement, innovation, improvement, productivity… sure steps for the potential of an enterprise social network. However, we must remember and constantly remind ourselves that enterprise networks are made up of people, and it is these people that form the “core” of the design process of the collaboration “architecture.”

    Regarding the second point, the lack of supervision, as pointed out by Jacob Morgan in his post Do Organizations Need a Chief Collaboration Officer?, companies need an executive responsible for integrating collaboration in the company, a role that he suggests be called the CCO (Chief Collaboration Officer). An article in the Harvard Business Review by Professor Morten T Hansen Who Should be Your Chief Collaboration Officer? puts forward five possible profiles, which range from the CIO, the HR head, the COO, the CFO, to the head of strategy. Regardless of whoever should cover the role, it is a key function is one that designs a comprehensive collaboration solution that implies a strategy and involvement from other human resource departments.

    To finish, I would like to reflect on what I shared in the post Designing Collaboration, the ultimate goal of any process that involves collaboration within a company should be essentially an internal transformation process. And with that, it should revolve around three basic pillars:

    Processes, Relationships and Learning. Above all, we must not forget the latter two if we want to innovate and co-create.

    Ignasi Alcalde is Social Business Advisor and teaching consultant at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

     

     
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