As collaboration is potentially our greatest productivity tool, there seems to be some potential productivity limiting issues to collaboration without proper information sharing infrastructure.
1. Effectiveness vs Complexity
Getting around enterprise, system, and application security walls (e.g. firewalls), to share information and knowledge, can introduce significant operational complexity, apart from often increasing security risks and limiting the content and value of shared information. The operational complexity typically results in delays, inefficiencies, redundancies, and technical problems that hinder collaboration and frustrate collaborators. Together, the increased complexity, costs, risks, and content value limitations can significantly constrain the productivity that collaboration is meant to provide.
2. Useful vs Useless
Adding to the required efforts, pre-filtering shared information, to ensure that only public, free, or worthless information is shared, also implies that the shared information is typically already available to all or most. That may also imply, re-evaluating the collaboration effort investment relevance for sharing this public information. Are the efforts worth the benefits? If not, collaboration may be useless. These issues can get seriously compounded when considering that information that is not identified and classified can not be managed, or the corollary that the better information is identified and classified, the better it can be managed and used. Identification and classification require efforts that need to be factored into a collaboration value equation, as does also the confusion that can result from identification and classification limitations.
3. Entitlement vs Breaches
As typically, no one wishes to share valuable information with potential abusers of that information and as no one wishes to contribute efforts to build collaboration works that can provide more power to enemy hands, for example, like building military strategy training systems that could be operated by enemies, or even a simple pilot training program openly accessible to terrorists, shared information requires entitlement and access control. While some shared information should be freely available, much should not.
4. Sharing vs Not Sharing
Not sharing was proven unproductive many times, one of the most obvious case may be from the US information agencies who could not prevent 9/11 as, without an adequate information sharing platform and framework, they had to responsibly protect the sensitive information that each had, by not sharing it. Like everyone, the agencies need an appropriate collaboration platform infrastructure.
The Collaboration Value Equation
As many factors can affect the value of collaboration and its derived productivity, it may be interesting to note that this value can be said to be directly proportional to the following factor combination and that, if any one of them nears zero, so does the whole equation:
Collaboration Value ==> (information value) * (identification quality) * (classification quality) * (entitlement) * (purpose) * (communicability) * (rendering)
Considering the above and also that both minds and computers can only store, process, and share information, that without sharing, storing and processing are useless, that managed information is identified and classified into resources that represent everything we manage (e.g. beings, people, things, concepts, processes), that the main difference between sharing and giving, is entitlement, and that entitlement is fundamentally a resource property, it seems recommended that collaboration infrastructure integrates resource and entitlement management.
While initially it may seem easier to implement in site and content management frameworks, working with virtual world platform providers like LindenLab, to integrate resource and entitlement management, would enrich their tools and services as rich collaboration platforms and truly allow collaboration to blossom.
What do you think?