Community is the people who collaborate. Social Business Software is the platform where they collaborate and Purpose is why they collaborate.
Mass Collaboration is defined by six defining characteristics: Participation, Collective, Transparency, Independence, Persisitence and Emergence.
Participation: You have to get your community to participate through contribution. “the user is the application.” You can’t hope to capture the wisdom of the crowd without the participation of the crowd.
Collective: In a collaborative community, participants “collect” voluntarily around a unifying purpose. Participants contribute to the whole rather than create content individually. This new act of contributing to the collective effort, which is constantly being created and expanded through a multitude of independent contributions, is what’s new with mass collaboration… you can’t get this with email.
Transparency: You have to be able to say that the community is transparent. All the users must see each others contributions. This way you get to see, use, reuse, augment, validate, critique, and rate what everyone adds to the collective. Without transparency, there can be no participant collaboration on content. If this is done properly, it gives the community the information needed to self-organise members contributions and create meaning out of what could easily become rubbish. Transparency leads to intelligent content, unified information, self-governance, self-correction and evolution. An increasing transparency leads to increasing organisational trust.
Independence: This delivers anytime, anyplace, any member collaboration… Any member of a community can contribute independent of another. They can do so wherever they are or whoever else may be posing content at that time; no co-ordination of collaboration or preexisting relationships are required. This is a big departure from email which dictates lists, or workflow, or document management structures.
Persistence: The members within your community’s contributions are captured and kept for others to view, share and augment. This again, is a departure from synchronous conversations where much of the information that is exchanged is either lost or only partially preserved. Your organisation needs to determine which information should persist, how long it should be held, and how to capture it in the least burdensome manner are significant design concerns for Social Business Software solutions.
Emergence: Social Business Software behavior cannot be modeled, designed, optimized or controlled. They emerge over time through interactions with community members. It allows the enterprise to come up with new ways of working or new solutions to seemingly intractable problems; it is the source of innovation as good ideas appear and rise in prominence through collaboration.
The fundamental cycle of collaboration:
Exerts from the Social Organisation by Anthony J. Bradley & Mark P. Mc Donald