Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Collaboration Maturity & Collaboration Platforms

How do we release talent within & across organisations (Collaboration)?
With the advent of social media and collaboration platforms, the tools available to leaders and managers have become sophisticated and powerful.  However the ability of organisations to effectively deploy and realise the potential of these new tools can be hampered by the culture, structure and processes within the organisation.
To compete or even to survive many knowledge based organisations need to accelerate innovation, creativity, knowledge sharing /re use and productivity. Increasing the productive engagement of stakeholders whether it be within and organisation or with external stakeholders leveraging the available tools requires a change in how we work.
The purpose of a collaboration platform is:-
a)      Speeding up Responsiveness
b)      Facilitating Innovation
c)       Enhancing Learning
d)      Growing the competence mass of the organization
e)      Increasing the capacity and speed of organizational intelligence
f)       Improving Involvement and Sharing Responsibility
Primary areas for organisation consideration are:-
b)      Enterprise 2.0 - Inside the organization to improve:
a)      efficiency and productivity
c)       B2C 2.0 - Connecting with customers/stakeholders to improve
a)      profitability and customer satisfaction

Organisations are fundamentally human systems made up of people, communities and teams and therefore are the core to any change to accelerate overall performance. Managers and Leaders when designing interventions whether Organisation development or Introducing change such as new technology often omit to take into account the organisation maturity and behavioural capacity of the individuals and teams within.
Why is organisation Development a key component to collaboration?
Because getting the most from the product is as much a people/organizational issue as a technical issue -
¡  Collaboration is an interpersonal activity & should be introduced & managed accordingly – otherwise, it will fail
¡  It is the most complex form of organizational activity and needs an O-D & Change-Management approach
¡  It has the greatest capacity for organizational transformation of any O-D intervention
¡  It can be truly systemic in scope – from customer to production and all stakeholders, functions, etc.
n  “The system is the product”
¡  Systemic Collaboration offers Organizational Advantage, which is best achieved through an Organization-Development approach
¡  Organizational Effectiveness improves performance, retention and sustainable growth

The power and features  of new technologies (Collaborative Platforms, such as Lotus Connections, MS SharePoint, Facebook, Mindtouch etc.) facilitate knowledge creation and re use. The ability to create communities, facilitate rapid identification of a person, expertise or information, make the process of innovation and collaboration be time and location independent can really accelerate the performance and creativity of an organisation.
Deploying these new platforms is not just an IT project and regardless of how mature and effective your IT management processes are, you may fail to leverage the benefits if you do not consider the organisation development factors.
The level of collaborative maturity differs from organisation to organisation, so how do we measure it, in order that our program to roll out a collaborative platform may include appropriate OD interventions, whether they are education, awareness, structure, coaching, facilitation etc. Most Models out there such as CMMi or ISO are descriptive and require a significant commitment, they are not based on the fundamental principles of human systems and human behaviour (And related psychology), they do not consider how humans and organisations learn and change.
However we now have a simple scientific model that allows prompt and effective measurement of the collaboration maturity in an organisation so that any project/program to accelerate innovation, productivity and knowledge sharing leveraging collaboration platform(s) can have the OD interventions and components built into the program.
The Collaboration Maturity Model
n  THE PROBLEM for optimising Collaboration has been identified: it IS getting people to use it, i.e. TRACTION
n  The Model was  DESIGNED with one thing in mind – TO GAIN TRACTION for interventions
n  It does this by measuring the level of organizational functioning so that it can be raised across the board to the required level to optimise collaboration
n  No other framework exists to cater for both organizational diagnosis and intervention guidance
The model is underpinned by human science research and the primary inputs to the model are based on on-line questionnaires that can be completed by participants within 20 minutes.
The outputs of the Model are 1. A report on the maturity level in your organisation on all key dimensions of collaboration, and recommended OD interventions to support your overall collaboration business program.  2. A visual dashboard of the maturity on all dimensions of collaboration maturity.

As well as providing guidance on the OD elements of a program, it also provides a benchmark that can be conducted periodically to ensure the interventions and ant platform program are having the desired effect and ensure the correct timing for further/future OD interventions as an organisation drives towards the Leadership Zone.
How does it fit in the deployment of a collaboration platform?
1.       Business decision to improve collaboration
2.       Business goals and business case for program
a.       Financial, Creativity, Productivity..etc.
b.      New Products/services , cycle times, lead times
c.       Maturity dimensions
3.       Measure collaborative Maturity
a.       On Line questionnaire & reports
b.      Small number of interviews/workshops
c.       Confirm threshold has been reached (Research to date suggests an organisation must be in or entering the learning zone before any platform investment is made)
d.      Design interventions
4.       Create Platform roll out program and project plan
5.       Execute plan
6.       Measure KPI’s and maturity to ensure benefits are being realised.
A Key consideration
To achieve the overall objectives , these new techniques for working as individuals and teams must become central to the leadership and management culture and require on-going support and facilitation. (More on this in the future)

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