Top insights on collaboration, sharing and digital productivity

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright August 29, 2016
In a digitally connected world, collaboration is an essential skill - within the enterprise, in communities and on social media. We offer some insights

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Collaboration has always been a fundamental part of business, but digital technology and the rise of social media have elevated it to a new level. Today we don't have to be in the same office or team to collaborate — we can participate in multiple teams simultaneously, working across boundaries of time, place and organization.

Trouble is, few of us have learned the skills to do that well, and the organizations we work for are often poorly structured to support these new styles of collaboration. At the same time, the digital platforms available to us are continuing to evolve and mature.

We touch on these topics frequently at diginomica, centered on our collaboration sharing and digital productivity cornerstone page. This is one of 18 cornerstone topics we introduced as part of diginomica’s spring facelift. Each of these content areas has a real-life, human curator responsible for its well being, hand-picking the 'curators picks' and making sure the content in the section is up to snuff — here are my top selections as curator.

American Express GBT implements Jive to democratise enterprise collaboration
 Derek Du Preez
excerpt — We knew collaboration was happening. It had to. We were a 165 year old company and we were successful. So we knew people were working together, but it was all in email. So when you left the company, everything you knew about the company left with you. So we knew we could create a virtual water cooler of collaboration where our employees gathered.

why I picked it — At diginomica, we don't believe you've got the whole picture unless you've got the use cases — what we call digital enterprise in the real world. Here, Derek captures the challenges and successes experienced as the Global Travel Services arm of American Express separated from its parent company and brought in Jive to facilitate cross-company collaboration. It's a classic case study of an organization replacing an old intranet-and-email model with modern digital channels.

Tinker or transform – what will you do with social media?
 Janine Milne, interviewing Euan Semple
excerpt — “So much of the role of manager has been perceived as controlling and this bunch of uncontrollable unruly miscreants that you employed in the first place have to be kept in check, rather than seeing them as a bunch of people who are smart enough to turn up to work for you.”

why I picked it — Euan Semple is one of the wisest voices in the field of enterprise social media, always worth listening to. Janine does a great job of channeling that wisdom in this interview, setting out the network thinking that's needed to really make enterprise collaboration work. If you want to dig deeper, we have more from Euan Semple.

Four tips for growing your customer community
 Barb Mosher Zinck
excerpt — Creating and managing a community isn’t as simple as purchasing software, plugging it in and inviting your customers to come.

why I picked it — In a digital world, collaboration crosses enterprise boundaries — products and brands are no longer simply promoted, they are in a sense co-owned. Businesses must find authentic and durable ways to engage with their customers. Here, Barb pulls together best practice advice for establishing and nurturing a customer community initiative.

The human dimension of digital collaboration
 Phil Wainewright
excerpt — “The reality is that virtual teams rarely work well and the collaboration tools often seem to get in the way rather than helping. Is it because the tools are not smart enough or are we not skilled enough at using them? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between those two extremes: the people and the machines need to get smarter about how they interact.”

why I picked it — I'm intrigued by the factors that make enterprise collaboration succeed or fail — all the answers have not yet been mapped. In this piece, I draw on some case studies along with findings from research at Google to investigate the human factors. It turns out that a culture that encourages people to be themselves is more successful than one that focuses solely on business outcomes without taking into account the way people interact.

Adobe’s Phil Clevenger – the essence of Enterprise UX design is collaboration
 Jon Reed
excerpt — “Enterprise is absolutely a team sport. There’s so many moving parts, so many centers of gravity… You have to be collaborative.”

why I picked it — This piece is one of Jon's series focusing on enterprise UX design, but it still includes a strong collaboration theme — a reminder that collaboration is becoming an essential part of every enterprise activity. Adobe as a company has a strong awareness of the importance of collaboration both internally and with its customers.

Bonus content — Our vendor coverage isn't represented above, but it's an important part of this topic — and we expect a lot more over the coming months as vendors continue to polish their wares. Here's a brief sample of recent highlights:

Best of the web — Much of what's written online about collaboration and social media often reads like a rehash of well-worn platitudes, so it takes some digging to find the gems. Here are a few that I find thought-provoking.

  • Learning by Shipping — former Microsoft Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has a way of taking everything you thought you knew and calmly distilling it into something completely different. Some gems here and at its predecessor.
  • The Obvious — as noted above, Euan Semple is always worth a read. This is his blog.
  • Collaboration 2.0 — Oliver Marks isn't blogging much these days but there are some gems in the archive.
  • pretzel logic — Sameer Patel also doesn't post often but knows a helluva lot about enterprise collaboration.

This is a sampling of favorites and in no way a definitive or comprehensive list. If you have any faves across the web I missed, please note them in the comments, and stay tuned at diginomica for plenty more.

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