Collaboration 2.0 … from ideas to action!

I originally wrote this post two years ago so some of the cultural references are out of date. But even after two years, I believe the message still applies. This is especially the case in many “groups” on Facebook and Google+. There’s a lot of extremely talented and well directed people lending excellent ideas. But it seems as if everything dies in the ideas stage.

If there was one trend I would say is leading on the backstretch of the trends of 2011 (can you tell it’s the day after the Kentucky Derby) – it would be crowdsourcing and collaboration. With each week the “getting everyone involved” movement gathers stream. We saw it, and still are, with the revolutions in the Middle East. We’re seeing it domestically too. Even”hard to change” corporations are jumping on the bandwagon. Coke is currently crowdsourcing their new theme song (under the guidance of Teio Cruz). And two weeks ago Lady Gaga announced she’s giving away millions at four New York charities voted on by her “Little Monsters.”

In theory, this collaboration movement seems great. The “little guy” is getting a voice.

The chasm between ideas and action

Aside from efforts by major organizations – I see a problem. How do you move this collaboration off the internet into action in the real world? Not everyone is Coke or a rock star like Lady Gaga.

In my experience, there seems to be a chasm between thought and ideas, and the implementation of these thoughts and ideas.

There are numerous great online forums and groups that accommodate collaborative vision formation – but where does it go from there? It seems everyone wants to give their opinion (myself included), but who’s actually going to do the real work making it happen.

Somewhere in the process someone has to have the plan to put these visions to practical use. That’s the strength of traditional organizations. The ideas that come from them may be flawed … but they get implemented. Even the collaborative revolution we saw in Egypt, earlier this year, didn’t fully take form until the Muslim Brotherhood and their existing organizational structure joined in. The students turned over tactical control to them in the decisive battle of the Kasr al-Nil Bridge which marked the turning point in the rebellion.

There is no shortage of great ideas that can probably change the face of our future. Unfortunately, most of them are just ideas – even though they may have thousands, if not millions of contributors. But someone needs to “take the bull by the horns” and channel them into a productive movements.

At present, it seems those that have the worst ideas, those in positions of power – have the strongest organizations to implement these ideas.

What we need is an “implementation template.” A platform where our collaborative ideas can move from just ideas and visions to acting solutions. While we may want to discard the status quo with a ‘scorched earth’ policy – and start anew … it isn’t practical. We have to grab some of the old and use it however best we can – to change the world.

Serious implementation questions need be answered before even the best ideas can come to fruition.

Every movement, every challenge has to have someone to lead the charge. Not everyone is a leader however, nor do they need to be. And the organizational structure needed to get things done doesn’t happen by crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing may uncover a leader – but they still have to lead and they must have a plan to do so. Also, will those intricately involved in the idea formation be willing to take a similar influential role in getting it done? And if they aren’t – then who will. These are just a few of the questions that will arise.

We have a unprecedented opportunity to take this place we live in … and make it a whole better for everyone. It’ll take more than just ideas though. That I believe will be the next step in the evolution of collaboration … or as I call it –  “Collaboration 2.0.”

I’d like to make this post a clearinghouse for ideas on how to develop this “implementation template” I alluded to. Please throw in your ideas in the comments on how we can do this. All input, pro or con, is greatly appreciated.


You can find me on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+


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6 thoughts on “Collaboration 2.0 … from ideas to action!

  1. I think it’s important to start with the basics- by making good and loyal friends who will do things for you if you ask them to- the important thing is to ALWAYS be there for them, if you can, and to pick friends you really want to be there for / spend time with. Few things on this planet are accomplished entirely alone- we have existing personal responsibilities that need taking care of, and to start a new project successfully, we usually need a lot of help. I live in Washington DC, where there’re already tons of things to do, but I made some excellent friends along the way, and now several of them have taken on key roles in the creative production collaborative that I started- because they know that I’m genuinely interested in helping them execute their creative goals- and that’s because we’ve taken the time to get to know and like each other as friends first. We share similar interests and dreams and are that much more likely to succeed. I’m not saying good collaborations don’t happen on the internet, just that the spirit of the internet is full of a lot of ambient collaborative energy right now, but that apart from things like kickstarter, common, and openideo, it seems to be mostly talk. My advice: find people who you know share your hopes and dreams first. Make sure you like spending time with them. They’re bound to know people elsewhere any way, from college or growing up or through another friend- sometimes this need we have to do new things by “harnessing the power of the internet” obscures the fact that we already have networks with deep roots that reach geographically far- if we start by taking the time to get to know the people who live next door.

  2. Clay,
    Great conversation. I think one of the greatest things we need to learn in the 21st century is how to love (be it ideas, people or nature) without possession. I suspect people are holding on to their best ideas–for fear of losing a piece of themselves. If we can find a way to make is pyschologically safer to share I think we will find even greater “soul-utions.”

  3. Clay, I think Benoit is onto something here, capturing the flow… In addition to new ventures that start as social movements geared at very specific actions and what i enumerate in my post you commented, there are loads of initiatives out there that go in desirable directions and are complementary to each other. The issue is that no one really knows where to find them, so the wheel is reinvented. Hence the idea to aggregate in real time and in an evolutionary manner the maximum of initiatives that can be inspiring, and described so as to provide some “instructions” for emulation/implementation.

  4. Could implementation be seen and approached as the removal of all the hype, hurry and stress that “disvalues” all the good ideas we already live in?

    Could implementation begin with the simple application of appreciation and gratitude?

    Solution: Focal – Local – Flowing = Flowcalization

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