One way of thinking about collaboration, then, is to look at the three P’s: Potential, Process, and Practice.
Potential, the first P, means that by working with other people and groups, something greater can happen than if the participants worked separately.
Process, the second P, is about the processes or patterns through which people work together.
Practice, the third P, is the human practices of collaboration. In order for people to work with other people, there needs to be a fundamental set of collaborative practices at play.
I said all three need to be in place. If not, here’s what happens:
- Potential, Process, NO Practice - the people irritate each other and can’t get anything done.
- Potential, NO Process, Practice - the people don’t have a common way of working together.
- NO Potential, Process, Practice - the people are ready and able, but there’s no reason for working with others. Doing so would waste organizational resources.
Do What You’re Told Work…Each person has a specified job to complete…People work alone on their own task. A supervisor ensures compliance with the process definition, and can dish out punishments for non-compliance or rewards for super-productivity.
Cooperation…multiple people work together on the same component at the same time. They have to coordinate what they do
Delegated Collaboration…the same production line, except there is no separate process designer. The assembly line workers both plan how to do the work and carry out the plans together
Creative Collaboration…the same production line, except the definition of the products produced require interaction with the end customer, to understand their needs and goals, with prototypes developed and created by the production team to explore solution fit.
…the outcome is…not imposed, because the understanding of the outcome changes and morphs as the problem is explored.