Three Pillars of Collaboration

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Three ingredients have to come together for moving towards any business or professional goal. Collaborators, Content and Context. At Tataatsu we call these the Three Pillars of Collaboration.


Think of this as a simple heuristic to help plan initiatives and evaluate tools for collaboration in your organization. Context might be the odd one, Content and Collaborators should be familiar to most. So let us begin with Context.

Context – Third Pillar

What is the context of this email? Which project is it tied to? To which project/document does this review comment belong? I have interacted with this colleague before but in which context? For this project, where do I see all related conversations?

Context is that which makes content and collaborators effective. Without the right context you only have an unproductive gathering of collaborators and content debating the merits of cat videos. Or even worse, mailing each other for status checks or search through Inbox for updates. The right people, the right content, brought together under the right context is key for effective progress.

Content – Second Pillar

A live screen-view of a remote desktop is not collaboration. Nor is sharing files via a folder in the cloud. Content and tools that serve them need some smarts. What similar documents are already there in my corpus? Content does not live in isolation, so how are the people, organizations or topics mentioned connected to each other?
Enterprise portals that hoard content and make the user jump through hoops to get to it might not serve organizations. Digital data overload requires different approaches to consuming them, collaboration tools need to assist the user. Content portals that do not yield their insights if I cannot come up with the right keyword are of limited utility.

Collaborators – First Pillar

What progress has my team member made on a key proposal? Can I stay on top of this project while on the move? Who is conversant with a new technology in my organization? Who contributes value consistently to any project? Which person would be most helpful to work on this project?
Without people there is only the silent handshake of machines. People are engines and their insights the fuel that propels organizations forward.
If your work is globalized and revolves around producing, consuming, reviewing digital content then we would love have your reactions. Does your current collaboration tool handle most of scenarios above? What would your ideal collaboration tool look like?

Heuristic for Productivity Sweetspot

Our next post will cover perspectives with which the three pillars should be approached. This simple heuristic will enable your organization, with appropriate tools and the 3 ingredients of course, to find that perfect sweetspot of productivity.
And of course, CollabLayer is our take on how content, collaborators and context could be brought together to enable workplace of the future. Head here to sign up for a free account. CollabLayer is still in beta but we fondly think its a little precocious. Let us know what you think!

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