What makes for successful collaborations? That's something I (and some others) are collaborating to figure out!!
The Relationship Networking Industry Association is a group of people (and companies) interested in how social media and business networking intersect. One of our early goals is to figure out some of the key knowledge that underlies creating value from connections in business. I'm on a team focused on "collaboration". We are trying to understand what makes collaborations work well, or not so well. Some recent research uncovered two examples of collaborations that to me are very instructive.
The first is an interesting example of on-line, wiki-based collaboration, with lots of statistics about how it worked. It's an article by three co-authors and many other co-collaborators.
The first half of the article has a good review of many of the theoretical ideas behind networks and value creation through networks. The back half assesses the authors' experiences using a wiki to help write the article you will be reading. Some of their conclusions are:
1. Wikis are tools - not panaceas.
2. Wikis are great places to expose ideas
3. Wikis facilitate the emergence of key ideas from people beyond the lead authors
4. Using multiple tools creates value
5. Co-creating takes time
6. Energy is required
7. Structure is necessary
8. Connecting intelligence extends reach
9. Value lies in ad hoc organizations
Some of the three authors are also the authors of the blog 21st Century Organization http://c21org.typepad.com/21st_century_organization/
Another example of a successful collaboration (on a larger scale) is Wikipedia, which was assessed in a speech by Mitch Kapor (successful software entreprenuer and general technology visionary) He outlines what he views as the key elements of success for Wikipedia.
He talks about the importance, in the Wikipedia case, of
1. Community - actually having relationships with each other
2. Vision - a significant, meaningful goal
3. Mission - an aim to create something
6. Good practices -- these include:
a. Don't criticize, improve!!
b.Real time response
c. Mechanisms to resolve disputes
You can read the whole summary of Kapor's speech at http://ross.typepad.com/bl
I'm interested in any examples of great collaborations -- and any insights in to why they worked so well!!