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Collaboration, Technology and Culture

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Over the past few weeks I’ve had conversations with several different groups of people about collaborating over time and distance. We’ve come up with several approaches. One of the simplest for a small group seems to be Google docs.

Not surprising, then, that an article in yesterday’s WSJOnline caught my eye. It focuses on interactive advertising on Meebo; I was taken by the site itself. So apparently are the VCs; it has just gotten third round venture funding.

The basic premise is that Meebo connects all your IM accounts in a single place and gives you a lot of options to connect with “buddies.” They have apps like a widget you can put on web pages, an iPhone app, and they are working on Meebo Rooms, which sound particularly appealing to corporate users. Meebo has gone out of its way to create interactive options for advertisers to connect with this wired (young?) community (see whe WSJ article also).

There are other web spaces that offer collaboration opportunity. Business Week has an article in the May 2 edition, “The (Virtual) Global Office,” that focuses on Second Life. Out of deference to their use policy, I won’t link to it; I’ll just let you find it for yourself. Or maybe someone knows someone at Business Week Online. . . This policy sure seems shortsighted to me! I do, however, agree with Norma’s comment that technology doesn’t make people collaborate better. “Process precedes technology.” Absolutely true. It seems to me that culture precedes process.

A recent post on the AlwaysOn network calls this the social era of management, which they define as follows:
1.characterized by, or inclined to working together in organizations and communities
2.Of or relating to the structure, organization, or functioning of the organization as a social organism.
3.Something worked out to explain, resolve, or provide a method for dealing with and settling a problem of performance and progress.

They go on to describe a model they call Socialutions that involves Priorities, People, Process, Products, Progress and Performance.

And here I thought it was only about people communicating over distance and time! Seems there’s a lot going on in this space that all marketers ought to be thinking about in pursuit of Progress and Performance!
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