Define collaborate – The word collaboration is so overused and overhyped it’s becoming meaningless. People refer to all software with a social component (chat, messaging, document sharing, etc.) as collaboration software; and this causes confusion.
Even with the launch of new intranet software and other collaborative tools, some people still suffer from, and complain about, poor collaboration.
This forced us to ponder the true nature of the word and explore its many dimensions. Most importantly, we discovered that collaboration is a deeply human activity, and no tool on its own can solve the problem of poor collaboration.
This may seem obvious, but many people believe that “if you build it, they will come”, and if you just launch a tool like an intranet, the magic will happen. We know that organizational culture and managerial practices can either hinder or nurture it, but it took a lot of failure and org dev theory to discover that fact.
A useful definition for collaboration
In response to bad collaboration we wanted to craft a definition that could inspire a more holistic, useful, and simpler perspective. We eventually landed upon this definition:
Two or more people working together towards shared goals – define collaborate
That’s it — just nine words to define collaboration. It’s a very simple definition. But simplicity is necessary when the term has become overly-hyped, where digital workplace vendors are trying to sell new ways of working to confused companies, and where business experts constantly stress the importance of building more collaborative and innovative organizations.
Dissecting the definition
This simple definition includes three parts:
- Two or more people (team)
- Working together (processes)
- Towards shared goals (purpose)
- This definition doesn’t mention technology or intranet software, but it does provide a solid framework for understanding what collaboration is and isn’t. For starters, collaboration takes place in teams.
A big group of people using social software together doesn’t equate directly to collaboration. It may be conversation; cooperation, knowledge sharing and improve employee engagement or the digital employee experience; but it is not collaboration – define collaborate
Next, it is about people working together and completing shared processes. This is where technology fits in, but not all of these processes are technological.
Finally: purpose. This is where a lot of the misunderstanding occurs. If people are working together, but have no shared goals, they are cooperating, not collaborating. Cooperation is usually much more lightweight than collaborating and often has less focused goals.
Social intranet software is excellent for increasing cooperation and collaboration, but these two activities are not synonymous. Technology is just one piece of the puzzle and there is a limited scope of what collaboration actually is.
What’s the best method for collaborating?
Organizations deploy social software internally with the goal of improving collaboration. While a social intranet offers tools for collaborating, it’s important to remember that there is no one perfect tool or method for all roles and activities.
Collaboration can be grouped into three broad categories: simple, document, and structured.
Simple (instant messaging and microblogging)
Tools that allow for instant response times are great for tasks geared around coordination—like preparing a project for launch. However, they can be distracting, and can remove people from deep concentration. Commenting may work well for increasing dialogue, gathering feedback, or editing a document or project. However it will fail when attempting to build something new.
When members of a specific team use microblogging to share updates and information about their joint work, it becomes collaboration. Imagine a marketing team working towards a deadline on a marketing plan and posting status updates about tasks completed or questions that arise. This is a specific group of people (the marketing team) working together (communicating about the project) towards shared goals (deadline for a project).
Document (Google Docs, Git, SharePoint)
Where simple collaboration is focused more on the conversations between people and teams, document collaboration is focused on a deliverable. Think of a sales team working together on a proposal, or a software team coming together to contribute to a source code repository.
Where simple collaboration tools are only useful when other parties are involved, document collaboration tools have value for the individual, yet are even more powerful when connected with a team.
Structured (forms & idea sharing)
Where the first two types do not have any required format, structured collaboration does. Either explicitly with a series of fields (e.g. a vacation request form), or implicitly via a specific topic (e.g. an Idea or Q&A forum).
Many intranets allow users to complete a form to request things like vacation, or a new computer. Typically, there is some kind of workflow process to review and approve these requests. Unfortunately, many of these systems (while meeting our definition) aren’t always easy to use. When done correctly, intranets should make it easy to collaborate around fielded data, allowing for flexibility in the process and conversation around the best ways to achieve a task.
The other type of structured collaboration revolves around a topic, like idea management and Q&A forums. By limiting their context these areas become more focused and directed. Often times idea forums can act as the nucleus for future collaboration, such as when an employee identifies an opportunity for cost savings, which could then be spun out into a project for further collaborating.
As you will see, identifying the best way to collaborate can be confusing. There is no one tool to rule them all approach it. It is role and context dependent. Sam Marshall of Clearbox Consulting has done a further exploration of these ideas in his blog post titled Collaborating without documents in the digital workplace.
It’s important to remember that collaboration happens within small groups of people—think project teams, cross-functional management teams, or functional teams. While collaboration can happen with two or more people, there is an upper limit to how many people can collaborate at once. Attempts to collaborate across an entire organization will result in noise, distraction, and annoyed staff.
We often think of collaboration as this big thing that the whole organization has to improve, but it is something that happens on a smaller scale, within teams with clear and often narrow focus.
Many people correlate collaboration with social software. They imagine purchasing a piece of digital workplace software and launching it to every employee in their organization and calling that collaboration.
Collaboration is a targeted, team-based activity. Social intranets, extranets, and other social software can help to drastically improve it, but you can’t lump all the possible features and activities into one term. And collaboration is about people’s interaction with each other as much as about the tools we use.
When someone says you’ve got to get better at collaborating, ask, “Who, exactly, needs to get better?” and, “How do they need to get better?” and, “On what work do they need to improve it?”
Intranet software can improve not just collaboration, but communication, cooperation, coordination, idea-sharing, team communication, knowledge sharing, and more.
Let’s work together to be clear about the meaning, what the business value of stronger collaboration is, and what the full array of changes are that can lead to better collaboration – define collaborate
What is Collaboration?
Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together for a common purpose to achieve business benefit – define collaborate
Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. It exists in two forms:
Synchronous, where everyone interacts in real-time, as in online meetings, through instant messaging, or via Skype, and
Asynchronous, where the interaction can be time-shifted, as when uploading documents or annotations to shared workspaces or making contributions to a wiki
Shared workspaces are among the most visible entries in the collaboration space. Aimed at rolling document and application sharing up with chat and perhaps versioning and other auditing capabilities, they may have more or fewer features and may be available either for license or on a syndicated basis “in the cloud,” as they say. Google Docs is a notable example of the latter, Microsoft SharePoint and EMC Documentum eRoom of the former.
Wikis are perhaps best thought of as online encyclopedias or “how-to” manuals. They are applications that let users freely create, edit, and reorganize content using a Web browser. Perhaps the most visible example of this breed is Wikipedia, and variants exist throughout enterprises of all kinds and sizes.
The plus and the minus of wikis are that more or less anyone can enter anything into the resource – so while they’re a great way to capture and share what people know, they also must be vetted to ensure nothing erroneous gets planted within (intentionally or otherwise). The good news is that, over time, active wikis tend to be of a fairly high quality due to the self-policing nature of an engaged user base.
Collaboration at the conceptual level involves:
Awareness – We become part of a working entity with a shared purpose
Motivation – We drive to gain consensus in problem-solving or development
Self-synchronization – We decide as individuals when things need to happen
Participation – We participate in collaboration and we expect others to participate
Mediation – We negotiate and we collaborate together and find a middle point
Reciprocity – We share and we expect sharing in return through reciprocity
Reflection – We think and we consider alternatives
Engagement – We proactively engage rather than wait and see
Collaboration relies on openness and knowledge sharing but also some level of focus and accountability on the part of the business organizations. Governance should be established addressing the creation and closing of team workspaces with the assignment of responsibility for capturing the emergent results of the collaborative effort.
How do you define collaborate?
Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together for a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.
07 Simple Ways to Build a Collaborative, Successful Work Environment
Create a clear and compelling cause. …
Communicate expectations. …
Establish team goals. …
Leverage team-member strengths. …
Foster cohesion between team members. …
Encourage innovation. …
Keep promises and honor requests.
What are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
Building and Maintaining Relationships
Give and receive feedback from peers or other team members in order to perform the task.
Share credit for good ideas with others.
Acknowledge others’ skill, experience, creativity, and contributions.
Listen to and acknowledge the feelings, concerns, opinions, and ideas of others
What makes a good define collaborate ?
In order to be an effective collaborator, you have to know who you are, what you stand for, and how your talents, beliefs, values, etc. will benefit the challenge at hand. Others will appreciate your feedback, and trust that you’ll always give honest feedback.
What is an example of define collaborate ?
Collaborate means to cooperate with an enemy. A president working with a rival country to free hostages is an example of to collaborate. … The definition of collaborate means to work together. A group working together to organize an event is an example of collaborate, define collaborate
Why is collaboration so important?
Collaboration in the workplace is a sign of effective team as it harnesses the best out of two or more individuals together. Efficiency is an essential part of a team and an important aspect of the workplace. Workplace collaboration will keep everyone safe from extra load of work as the work gets distributed evenly.
Collaboration in the workplace takes into account employees’ ideas, skills, experiences, and opinions. When individuals work together openly, processes and goals become more aligned, leading the group towards a higher success rate of achieving a common goal – define collaborate
What can you learn from collaboration?
The benefits of collaborative learning include:
Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
Promotion of student-faculty interaction.
Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.
Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
- How can I improve my collaboration skills?
The following five tips can help you develop your workplace collaboration skills:
Work on projects outside your comfort zone. …
Communicate clearly. …
Find a mentor. …
Join industry groups. …
Participate in team-building activities.
How effective is define collaborate for learning?
The impact of collaborative approaches on learning is consistently positive. … The few studies that have been published indicate that collaborative learning is an effective way of engaging students in learning, as long as it is well structured and well communicated.
Definition. Collaborative learning strategies are explicit approaches or procedures to guide the process of collaborative learning. … A selected strategy sets a course of action for academic and social interactions and provides a plan for students to learn how to collaborate in pairs, teams, or as an entire class.
Put simply, collaborative leadership is the type of leadership required to get effective and efficient results across internal or external organizational boundaries. A collaborative leader invests time to build relationships, handles conflicts in a constructive manner, and shares control.
What are examples of cooperative learning strategies?
- Ditch think-pair-share and jigsaw and try some of these fresh, meaningful group learning strategies.
- Four Corners (TeachingWithSimplicity.com)
- Cooperative Graffiti (TeachHub.com)
- Round Table or Rally Table (Oregon Department of Education)
- Carousel (University of Albany)
- Writearound (ColorinColorado.org)
Search related keyword to define collaborate
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