Collaboration in the 21st Century: Why Accelerating the “Flow of Insight” is Key to Getting Smarter, Faster


Today I start blogging with Ciber, and I’m excited to be here.  For some years now, I’ve been posting in open spaces about organizational learning, knowledge and change, and the many possibilities emerging with social technologies.  In the process, I’ve learned a great deal about what resonates in a business setting, and what doesn’t.  It’s given me a broad sense of what it takes to collaborate in the 21st century, and it’s alerted me to many barriers.

To me, it’s a set of profound insights coming at a critical time. Business today is demanding more than ever, in a world that’s connected more than ever.  Unfortunately, these powerful business dynamics can make IT Integration more complex and more challenging than ever, as well.  Ask any CIO.  Helping an enterprise get smarter is a difficult problem.  And that’s if it even makes the agenda.

What organization can afford to rest on its past accomplishments?

It’s not a rhetorical question.  Nor is it one to leave to chance.

I believe that accelerating the flow of insights is increasingly critical to any organization that seeks to advance its financial stake, or to otherwise enhance its ability to deliver.  Organizations need to find ways to get smarter.  And to survive in the 21st century, a leading enterprise must find ways to get smarter, faster.

Let’s drill down.  The traditional view of Knowledge Management (or “KM”) holds that the most important insights of any organization should be captured, stored, and tagged for quick retrieval.  In this way, organizations always tap from the best, most informed sources internally available.  When it works, everyone wins.  The problem is that this approach often fails.  Many have blamed vendor tools or faulty ROI calculations.   But in reality, knowledge, like an organization that creates it, constantly changes and evolves.  Ideas emerge anew as context continually shifts.  Given this churn, virtually all of an organization’s most valuable insights remain trapped inside of people’s heads, or worse, they are lost in countless emails.  In both scenarios, important insights are very difficult to retrieve.

Far too often, thinkers and collaborators must work against the grain.

In April, Ciber is publishing a white paper called “Getting Smarter, Faster” which begins to unpack how organizations can turn the tables, taking on the long-running problem of stranded knowledge.  It’s time to take active steps to define a new collaboration paradigm.

For some background reading, take a look at Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0.  Where he leaves off is where we’ll begin.  We’ll want to explore the many facets of the long-running battle with stranded insights.  We’ll look at how organizations can be more effective in how they communicate, how they innovate, and perhaps most importantly, how they learn.

No silver bullets ahead, I can assure you of that.  Effective collaboration is not a destination, but a journey.  It’s going to require both hard work and some critical thinking.  I hope you’ll join us here as we explore the possibilities.

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