All comments posted on this blog do not reflect the opinions of any organization that I am affiliated with. These are my personal perspectives only.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Innovation: The Difference between Communication & Collaboration

I sometimes refer to collaboration as communication 2.0. Just because we can connect two or more people together and share information does not mean we are collaborating. The difference between communication and collaboration is when new concepts emerge through that exchange in knowledge & creativity.

This is not to say the individual is void of their own creativity or ability to think "out of the box" but they are limited to their own insight and understanding. Only through the introduction of new information can they go beyond that.

The opportunities are astounding. We've all heard the "1+1=3" saying but if we wanted to think about it mathematically, it is indeed true. In fact it's even greater than that. If we take every concept person A has and matched that with every concept person B has we could create some very interesting formulas. To keep it simple, assume the number of ideas (x) is the same for all the people (n) collaborating and that we will only look at pairing of ideas. The resulting formula would be: = "x^n+n(x)^(n-1)+(n-1)x^(n-2)+…"
This would mean that 1+1=3.5, and 1+1+1= 14.5... Now consider mass collaboration where n=1,000,000... Yikes! An analogy would be to consider every individual idea as one of the chemical elements (of which there are only 92 natural ones) and every physical thing on this entire planet is made up of only these 92 elements or combinations of them.
So what are the implications? Well here are 5 and there are several others.
1) Just one more person adds tremendous opportunity.
2) The more diverse the individuals the more ideas in the funnel.
3) Effective convergent thinking is extremely crucial.
4) The "pipe" to connect people really is a "dumb pipe."
5) Brainstorming can be enhanced by techniques that merge concepts.

I want to thank Dan & Kathleen for the seeds to this blog even though they were separate conversations across time & space. It's an example of the integration of concepts. Dan & I had an interesting discussion about what really is "thinking out of the box" and Kathleen & I had an interesting discussion on the chemical elements.

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