Collaboration for Discovery

March 26, 2013 Leave a comment

In the early days, when “normal” people first started using the web, we saw websites that looked just like our pamphlets.  We used the new technology to do the same thing we always did – until we dared to experiment.

Similarly, as we enter today’s collaboration revolution, we are still thinking about collaboration the way we always have.  We think in terms of relatively linear, well-planned processes.  Too often collaboration is just about implementation.  But:

Unlike process-based work, in which the goal is to perform synchronized tasks consistently and reliably, extended collaboration occurs asynchronously and is often aimed at discovering or developing something new.

– Tammy Erickson, Meaning Is the New Money via Stowe Boyd

True – we can collaborate in ways that were impossible before.  But an entirely new sort of collaboration has become possible – collaboration for discovery, collaboration for developing the new.

This sort of collaboration requires self-motivation.  You can’t demand that people collaborate in this way.  You can create conditions for people to collaborate in this way.  But a lot more than that is required, you need people who are self-motivated, people who are passionate about getting where you want to go.

Your role as a leader is to nurture this passion, to facilitate opportunities you’re your people to make meaning together, to liberate your space for these self-motivated people to collaborate for discovery, for developing the new.


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