2/28 Response: Evan Rosen & Collaboration

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Evan Rosen’s Business Week Article “Creating Collaboration Takes More Than Technology” discusses how new technological innovations do not instantaneously give an organization the ability to collaborate successfully. Rosen’s main point stems from the fact that an organization has to change its approach internally before it can assume new technologies (such as video chatting, or multi-media design formatting websites) will be of proper service to them.

Organizations and businesses first need to examine their goals, and how they plan to achieve their goals. For example, is their organization more formal than it is informal, strictly attached to its hierarchal aspects? To collaborate, Rosen suggests an organization must first deconstruct those factors that limit collaborative potential, tearing apart barriers set by specific roles. In other words, the business’s “culture,” as Rosen describes it, must be reexamined and reconstructed before the implementation of tech tools. How is the business environment structured? Who is allowed to command leadership? How can competition among employees be reduced?

Rosen implies that as soon as the realm of competition has been dismissed and fairly apparent to the employees of a business, collaboration becomes that much more reachable. Simply, collaboration is the opposite of competition–an organization must work to apply this mindset to its employees and once this is understood, there should be less failure in their attempts.

Beyond excluding the competitive nature, Rosen states that employees should be free to “adopt spontaneous work styles”. Not only does this apply to Rosen’s interpretation, where “everybody [has] immediate access to everybody else,” but also, to the idea that each employee should equally contribute with a work style of all their own. Whatever collaborative measure the organization or business seeks, each contributor should bring something entirely unique and apply it. What good would a collaborative project be if the same “variety” of skill were applied? There would be less distinction, less diversity, and the collaboration would be less effective. To collaborate is to work together despite differences (in skill, in idea, in level) in order to produce a combined result.

Thus, once all of these aspects are used, collaboration becomes more natural, and once it becomes more natural, it is easier to introduce the technological tools that aid in a collaborative effort. Rosen explains that the tools are the medium for the creation, but it is the people involved, the organization or business itself, that creates the collaboration. Failure becomes the result when one introduces the tool before the collaboration.

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