Collaboration is not Communication

As a part of any rapid project approach, there is often a kick off or a set of guidelines that are set up and a couple of buzz words that come out if are"


I was reminded of this in my discussion with Rex earlier this week and have been pondering this a lot through the week.  Here are a couple of observations:

  1. They are not the same, I can exchange information often and not be collaborating. 
    I have been in many meetings where people feel that by communicating often, but not engaging in the conversation is still collaborating.  That is only communication.
  2. Communication is a major component of collaboration, without it you are not interacting for recursive evolution of a solution.
  3. Communication can bread collaboration, if parties are interested in learning and evolving what is being communicated.
  4. Collaboration needs to embrace different points of view, but communication doesn’t need to (it should) but it doesn’t need to.  A tv add has a message it wants to communicate, the tv ad does not learn anything from you the watcher.
  5. Focus on common purpose or goal.  Once again communication does not need this where collaboration does not.

These were just some early morning muses on the topic.  I was thinking how wonderful as a tool the web has changed the way we communicate to be more like collaboration every day.  A couple of examples:

  • Shopping the web – the store knows where you are, often knows who you are, can offer to talk to you, you can design your own product and the list goes on.  All the while there is the opportunity for two way dialogue.
  • Blogging – I need not say more
  • Facebook – An interesting tool to reconnect, not sure if it is collaborative in nature yet, but I see some room
  • WebX, Groove, Mindmanager, … – enterprise tools that allow people to interact on the fly.  I remember back in January watching programmers in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary work together looking over the shoulder (virtually) of one person, talking and sharing control.
  1. Rex Reply

    Good post. Your readers might also be interested in this piece I wrote about “innovation” being the difference between the two.
    The definition I use for collaboration is: The achievement of results impossible to accomplish individually/independantly.

  2. LeOgAhEr Reply

    I Love you girls

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