A Comment “On Collaboration”

By | June 6, 2012

I left a comment on JP Rangaswami’s second awesome post this week on social enterprise and social collaboration:

Great post JP, definitely fresh air for this whole exploration, thanks.

The things I would add to your excellent list from my experience with social collaboration at BlackRock are

* leadership
* personal perspective

Leadership, and the deeper DNA of a company set in motion by leadership, sets the tone for how people will even consider using the technology for filtering, subscribing, recognizing and so forth. It is amazing how subtle and powerful the effect of leadership advocacy (or the lack of it) is on collaboration. I am talking about the psychological background the leaders create for collaboration. This is a pure issue of “getting it,” but of course it has many practical implications for priorities, processes, and policies.

And that is why my second item is one’s personal perspective. Some people are individuated enough to actively collaborate if the leadership and culture supports it and be their own truly social node if it doesn’t. These folks do get it and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with their familiarity with social tech. It is more about having something to say and saying it with integrity and creative intent.

This type of person tends to trigger the collaborative gene in others, and you can often watch people popping around the network as the result of their contribution, at least momentarily. Tapping and nurturing this type of perspective seems a necessary part of building a social enterprise, and I would say much more efficient in that everything follows from a social perspective. I’ve watched many people cross that invisible threshold and they do remarkable things.

Look forward to future posts.


  • JeffMowatt

    Brooks, I read you comment on Confused of Calcutta and saw resonance with another interpretation of social enterprise. This acknowledges the potential of technology for social change but persuades us that we need to go further to meet the needs of those who fall between the cracks that traditional capitalism has failed to reach.

    http://economics4humanity.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/what-is-social-enterprise-2/

    It cannot be achieved by merely building reputation, to create an economy favouring the literate and charismatic, the PR machine and those adept in technology. Other writers like Umair Haque identify the need for empathy as the ‘Next Big Thing’

    As my colleague whose life was given to a social objective illustrates. We cannot even take democracy as a given. It’s a matter of moral courage, “when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway
    and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you
    do”

    http://economics4humanity.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/atticus-finch-6/