There’s only one place collaboration happens in your organisation – between people.
Collaboration doesn’t just happen on your technology platform or in your activity based workplace. Collaboration happens wherever people come together to work. Collaboration is a human activity integral to work wherever it occurs.
Between Diverse People
Like the diverse people & work in your organisation, collaboration takes many forms. As an outcome of the interaction of many people, it reflects all their diverse contributions and preferences.
Build a monolithic and exclusive collaboration solution and you are likely to disappoint the diverse needs of people who are looking to tailor solutions from a digital workplace of “small pieces loosely joined.” Universal solutions designed for corporate control are complex. The greater the complexity of your collaboration solution and the more that it is top-down imposed on employees, the more likely it is to fall foul of Gall’s Law. Systems designed for single standard or even an average are likely to disappoint everyone.
Leave flexibility so that your employees can adapt and use the collaboration infrastructure in their work. If it is too hard or too ill-suited to their diverse needs, employees will just work around it, by bringing in their own small pieces.
Between People Everywhere
Beware efforts to promote collaboration that are tied only to one piece of infrastructure or one pattern of working. The needs of the employees of your organisation and their work will likely require more.
Don’t invest all your efforts in the infrastructure when what matters most is what is going on in the relationships between people. Infrastructure supports and enables collaboration but it doesn’t define it. Remember the real value of collaboration is following activity beyond the infrastructure to understand how it changes the work.