What does Collaboration actually mean?

Collaboration simply means a working practice where individuals work together for a common purpose to achieve benefit in their business.

What is Collaboration?
Collaboration allows individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business goal. It basically exists in two forms:

 Synchronous
Asynchronous

In synchronous collaboration, everyone interacts in real time, like in on-line meetings through instant messaging or via Skype, and in asynchronous collaboration, interaction can be time-shifted, like when uploading documents or annotations to shared work spaces or making contributions to a wiki.

In collaboration space, shared workspaces are much visible. They are aimed at rolling document and application sharing up through chats. They may have more or less features, and can be available either for license or on a syndicated basis in the cloud. A well-known example of this type is Google Docs, which is Microsoft’s SharePoint and EMC Documentum eRoom.

On the other hand, Wiki are best thought of as on-line encyclopedias or how-to manuals. These are the applications that let users to create, reorganize and edit content using a Web browser. Although, the most visible example of this is Wikipedia, but variants exist throughout enterprises of all kinds and sizes.

collabcycle
At the conceptual level, Collaboration involves:

Awareness
Motivation
Self-Synchronization
Participation
Mediation
Reciprocity
Reflection
Engagement

Though collaboration relies on openness and knowledge sharing, but also requires some level of focus and accountability on the part of business organizations. Also, governance should be created for addressing the creation and closing of team workspaces with assignment of responsibility for capturing the emergent results of the collaborative effort.

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