One of the fun things with collaboration is that you can expect the unexpected -- you never know what the other people involved will bring to the table.

The same can be said of our recent "Making Sense of the Collaboration Tool Landsape" tweet jam. The conversation took many paths and detours and managed to cover a lot of ground in spite of the 140 character imposed limits. 

So Many Tools, So Little Time

Collaboration is a human activity. And the number of tools flooding the market aimed at aiding this activity points to a number of reasons: the diverse needs for solutions, the rush by vendors to join an in-demand market, the attempt by businesses to force a tool on the workforce instead of digging deeper into the needs the solutions are meant to answer. Or all of the above?

(Note: The tweets are presented out of linear fashion in an effort to capture the conversations that took place)

There's Nothing Natural About This

We started round two with the premise that collaboration was "natural,"  a point which the participants quickly refuted. Collaboration has not (until recently) been encouraged, so the expectation that people will naturally be inclined to collaborate is false. 

The Shadow IT Bogeyman

Can a compromise be reached between the easier to use, consumer-grade solutions that individuals or teams introduce and the corporate seal of approval?

The general consensus was yes -- through inclusion of the employee's voice throughout tool selection. 

Like a Team Sport

Does collaboration feed into and complement broader organizational goals?

Yes and no.

Collaboration can contribute to broader organizational goals, but can also act outside of specific goals to surface new ideas and new goals. 

Small Scale Effort, Big Picture Strategy

Collaboration happens in smaller groups -- but how does this translate to a larger-scale "social capital"? The tools often take the blame (not to say that there aren't some bad solutions out there) when the failure can just as often be rooted in a lack of clear purpose, a lack of support on the part of leadership and poor organizational culture.

Crystal Ball Time

What will the future hold for collaboration and the collaboration tool landscape? 

More of the same, very different, don't know, we'll all be working from our watches -- pick a theory, any theory and we'll revisit in 2020. Until then, thank you to one and all who joined into this rich discussion.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  raffaespo