posted 14 Mar 2005 in Volume 8 Issue 6
Book review: Collaborate to Compete
By Daniel Myint, UN Stabilisation Mission Haiti, firstname.lastname@example.org
Collaborate to Compete: Driving Profitability in the Knowledge Economy, by Louis Stokes and Robert Logan, offers a realistic approach to fostering collaboration and provides the basis for developing a network that promotes knowledge sharing.
The authors make three distinctive points. The first is that the most likely strategy for success for organisations in the knowledge era is to collaborate. Collaboration, they say, fosters larger communities, thus more partners and allies, leading to richer resources and opportunities.
Second, to enable collaboration, one must understand the various elements that encourage as well as hinder the concept. Specifically, these elements are the three components that make up the authors’ Collaborative Quotient: technical skills and the ability to communicate; emotional skills, including the intra-personal and inter-personal abilities that help us to understand not only our own emotions but also those of others; and, the motivational skills that drive the realisation of the need to collaborate.
Third, using this quotient to analyse individuals, management, organisations and their respective readiness to collaborate enables the identification of positive and negative factors that affect collaboration. This knowledge in turn allows us to mobilise resources and initiatives that will ultimately harness the supporting factors and modify the barriers.
The book is a valuable read for anyone involved in initiatives focused on building a more open and collaborative enterprise. Corporate managers will appreciate the concepts that allow for a more tangible understanding of the ‘softer’ issues involved in the restructuring of a learning organisation. KM practitioners, consultants and IT professionals working on projects involving the creation of knowledge networks that will support this type of organisation will appreciate the structure the authors attempt to provide to help in such tasks. And if your interest is purely theoretical, the book is still a good read. Stokes and Logan not only offer advice on the principles of collaboration, they also define in detail a blueprint for a knowledge network that will help in making a collaborative organisation a reality. They probe into the human dimension of this type of initiative, which is the most crucial but also the most frequently overlooked.