by Lynn Power
Originally published: June 6, 2016
As business continues to globalize and our industry becomes increasingly complex, lots of people are talking about collaboration. It’s often a client mandate and agency imperative, though sometimes it feels like just a price-of-entry buzzword that people say because they know they’re supposed to. Marketers use collaboration as a way to solve thorny, global problems (and occasionally to bring in other partners — thinking that there’s always a better idea out there). Agencies try to prove they can do more for clients, and operate in a flatter world where the command and control culture is obsolete.
But collaboration isn’t a buzzword or a fad; it’s an essential part of how we need to operate to be successful in today’s world. As Jeremy Roschelle and Stephanie D. Teasley point out in The Construction of Shared Knowledge in Collaborative Problem Solving, while many people talk a good game about collaboration, most are just cooperating. Here’s the difference:
Collaboration is a coordinated, synchronous activity that is the result of a continued attempt to construct and maintain a shared conception of a problem.