Friday, 30 March 2012

Communication vs Collaboration - what's the difference?

Today I was reading a post by Sam Marshall of Clearbox Consulting about Sharepoint based intranets, and the sentence What defines collaboration is that multiple people work towards an end goal. caught my eye.

As a member of the group promoting the Defragmentation discussions, about encouraging information sector groups to collaborate more effectively, this definition struck a chord.  We have been trying to persuade the various groups to collaborate (for example to jointly produce concrete products such as an Information Manifesto that all groups could use to promote the value of information professionals).  However, I've started to wonder whether effective collaboration can take place before regular communication is established? 

It seems to me that (despite some great personal links between a few of the members of some of the groups) there is little or no regular, effective, senior level communication between the boards, management committees, trustees, etc, etc, of the various groups.  I am aware that some of the groups have tried to establish this, with varying degrees of success, while other groups seem to see it as less of a priority.

Without this communication, which could build familiarity and trust, perhaps asking for collaboration on joint projects is just too much to expect.