As we move towards the end of 2012 I’m in a musing mood, reflecting on my many conversations over the past 12 months. From my conversations in 2012 I am reminded we are still on the learning curve on how to build and sustain a truly collaborative organisation and must be continually reminded that technology is an enabler and not the solution. Most collaboration projects are still IT led and using heavy duty project management methodology to what is essentially a people issue.
Social business technologies are helping to make the task of collaborating and sharing easier and more in tune with how we run our personal lives but that does not mean that people will automatically start to share what they know or information they possess with other people who might need it. To improve collaboration using social business we still need to understand the psychology of sharing. We also need to understand the context in which we want people to start sharing with each other. When we have that understanding, we should have some idea of what buttons to push to make it happen, such as what technologies to use and how to design, implement and introduce them to the intended users.
I hope in 2013 we start to move away from the IT led deployment approach and look at how we instigate change in organisations, primarily through the people centric approach – in essence spending time in building and developing champions, advocates and communities, both physical and virtual, to support change initiatives that collaborative tools bring. The development of champions, advocates and community managers, tied with a strong emphasis on communication planning, allows local adoption of many enterprise wide initiatives.
The focus on people and communities at a local level may start to bring real value from adoption of collaborative technologies. The nurturing of these communities will be where the real value is for enablers in 2013.