Co-collaboration

So what is co-collaboration?images (1)

In a recent publication, Towards New Innovative Collaborations, on recent blog posts, and I dare say in workshops and presentations,  I have used the term co-collaboration. It’s a clumsy term I know, one I have been taken to task on and one that needs clarification, but in my mind, describes the emerging collaboration brought about by increased used of social media and networks

It is now widely excepted that collaboration on a project is a key success factor, its no longer a nice to have skill, but a capability must have.  Its more often than not a high scoring topic in bids and PQQ’s.  (But, incidentally, poorly measured and monitored throughout the project, unless that is things go wrong and relationships revert to un-collaborative type)

Learning and sharing within a collaborative team is an essential, but our industry is moving towards the point where this is not enough. There is a growing expectation to share experiences, share lessons learnt, often within the context of ‘stories’, beyond the project team, beyond company barriers, for the good of the not only our built environment sector but also our clients sector. And it is in this exciting area where I find myself working more and more.

Communities of practice are growing, freely sharing and co-creating  to advance understanding and development. For example in the BIM arena with UKBIMCrew, in social media with BE2Camp, the networks associated to twitter tweetchats on CSR (#CSRChat) the Bathroom and Kitchens tribe (#kbtribechat) and our own sustainability leadership conversations (#sustldrconv) and many other social / un-conference groups

As individuals, we are increasingly are contributing to and sharing more on industry wikis such as designing buildings wiki and through industry, organisation and company blogs.

And it is this emergence I refer to as co-collaboration, a mashup or co-creating + collaborating

“We must harness the collective power of unconventional partnerships to dramatically redefine the way we thrive in the future” Hannah Jones, Nike

Yet recognition of the importance of this co-collaboration is slow, with leaders seemingly reluctant to move from keeping best practice in house or wrapped as PR when communicated. It may well be a future success factor for leading organisations  who embrace the ‘value of what we know is in sharing it” ethos.

Related:

Collaboration makes construction lean  In this excellent article by Karen Wilhelm which mashes up collaborative working, lean, BIM, 3D and 4D design, collaborative contracts, value chains ….

Sustainable futures require collective power of unconventional partnerships Early today I came across this excellent quote* from Hannah Jones, Nike’s global head of sustainability and innovation …

Towards New Innovative Collaborations  November 1 2013 Our recent publication “Towards New Innovative Collaborations” exploring PPP Public Private Partnerships and Collaborative Working within a changing built environment is now available through Amazon …

Team Building in the Age of BIM May 1, 2014 http://www.architectmagazine.com/ Building Information Modeling (BIM) by itself does not cultivate meaningful engagement. Collaboration skills and processes are essential, and they transcend technology and tools. I would underscore the point that it is the less tangible elements of collaboration—a nuanced and subtle skill set—that provide the magic that transforms the most challenging projects into great works of architecture.

 

 

 

 

Are Tweetchats: the new digital benchmarking?

Twitter has come of age – we are seeing more mature, powerful, innovative and business focused use. In particular open tweetchats. Initially started as open brainstorms around a topic, tweetchats remain a powerful format, latterly they have matured into great learning/sharing conversations / interviews.

Tweet-chats generate great content, enable organisations or individuals to share and learn from others. An exemplar Tweetchat has to be the #CSRChat hosted by Susan McPherson (@susanmcp1) which can be seen as a digital version of the benchmarking visits that were the improvement tool for business back in the 90’s. These chats enable real insight to the CSR, Sustainability of leading organisations, and importantly the opportunity to engage, ask questions, get responses and add experience to the chat topic.

Good tweet chats creat a transcript record or report for future reading. I originally suggested that people just jump into the Tweetchat brainstorm, adding comment, holding small conversations with other attendees, and then … make sense of it afterwards and follow up on links, links and make face to face contact.

We have run some excellent tweetchats and built up a real body expertise, under the hashtags for example #GVisChat, #SustLdrsConv and #EXPOC21chat. In fact our first GVIsChat was way back in 2011. The reach of tweetchats can be impressive, with analytics from organisations such at @Tweetbinder.

What’s not to like? As with all good things there is a bandwagon approach that borders on spam- for example we have seen a rash of tweet-chats themed around a county or town, often tagged #anycountyhour these unstructured events offer little engagement and a free for all of promoting services or products.

#SustLdrConv – a monthly series of conversations around the topic of sustainability leadership, co hosted by Martin Brown @fairsnape in the UK and @AndreaLearned  in the USA. Every Tuesday at 7pm UK 2pm ET and 11am PT

#EXPOc21chat – a series if twitter conversations related to the first European Virtual Green Build expo in February 2014.

Background: #tweetchats … observations + how to

#GVisChat – a monthly conversation supporting the Leeds Sustainability Instiutue Green Vision programme (and host to the Living Building Challenge UK collaborative

Conducted properly tweetchats can be a powerful digital version of benchmarking exercises, of a white paper, enabling a structured interview to air your position, comments and developments whilst allowing for real time input from other topic experts, advocates and practitioners.

Having developed a track record in successful tweetchats, we would be delighted to discuss how these online conversations can greatly assist your wider social media, digital or PR efforts.

#tweetchats … observations + how to

What is a tweetchat? In my view: a global online brainstorm: a fast paced collection of expert opinion, links, references, questioning, learning but above all sharing around the theme of the chat.

“A tweet chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through tweets that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation” Formal Twitter tweet chats are arranged in advance and occur at set times. They may include a formal agenda with a specific leader or “speaker”, or they might involve a free flowing discussion between all participants.

Dont attempt to make too much sense of it at the time, dive in, chat and share. Make sense of it later (which makes the output and transcripts very important). A brilliant use of twitter!

Having participated in a number of tweetchats over tha last few months #futrchat, #CSRchat and the more frivolous #sugarfreetweets for example, I recently took on the task of oragnising and facilitaing #GVisChat ‘Future of Energy in Buildings’ for Green Vision.

For an inaugural chat it worked well, with thought leaders and seasoned tweeters conversing and sharing with those who made their first tweet during the chat, which has to be a result.

Here then are my thoughts and observations:

Preparation:

  • Choose a hashtag and check it hasnt been used for another chat.
  • Most hashtags end ‘chat’ which has become a notation for tweetchat.Make the hashtag simple and memorable
  • Get the word out there – through twitter but also through related groups, forums both online and real.
  • Get the time and date agreed: Check there are no other big, subject related chats scheduled around the same time: Balance between working day time (9-5) and a global enthusiast though leader chat: It does seem the popular time is 7, 8 or 9 pm UK time for a global input. (and looking at a recent spreadsheet of existing scheduled chats, USA tweeters would appear to be more comfortable with the tweetchat format.)
  • Have instructions you can point to in order to help participants, for eg: How to take part in a tweet chat and How to join up to twitter (you don’t want to exclude those not on twitter who may see the whole twitter thing a bit of a dark mystery)
  • Agree roles – I think there are three, a facilitator, a subject driver and an amplifer See below  (I did all three so it can be done but … wow – it gets busy)
  • Agree Questions in advance, say 5 or 6 but be prepared to change and flex with the direction the chat may take.

Setting up to capture: 

Register the hashtag with  tweetchat.. Tweetchat provides a nice simple format that puts you in the ‘tweetchat room’ for the chosen hashtag and automatically adds the hashtag. Overall though I find tweetdeck easier to use during the chat.

‘Facilitating’ the chat:

  • Introduce topic, and the first question.  The start of the chat was probably the most ‘awkward’: unlike real meetings there are not many signals to pick up on that people are there and ready to go so you have to dive in. I had a sense of I was waiting for tweeters and they for me to kick off.
  • Welcome – be sure to welcome people as they enter the chat, that is make their first hashtaged contribution
  • Let twitter know the chat is running
  • Feed in the questions – the skill would appear to be in introducing next question at the right time, not too soon or too late – keep the fast pace going…
  • Amplify good points (ie RT and add to)
  • Praise good points being made, thank people for links (as you would in a real world brainstorm)
  • Challenge, question, throw in off the wall out there concepts to widen the discussion (eg future of energy chat led to possibility of building on the moon)
  • Give time checks, especially towards the close  – the 60mins flies past rather swiftly!
  • Watch for contributions from people forgetting or not using the hashtag and RT them so they get into the mix. (and remind people to use the # and Q and A numbering)

During the chat I used tweetdeck so I could have a DM channel open for closed communication with other hosts and a timeline to watch for related tweets from friends who forgot the hashtag!

Post Chat

Use a service such as the brilliant Tweetbinder to capture the tweets as well as statistics on the tweetchat.

Drop the tweets into Storify to create a transcript

Use the tweets and links to craft an interview sytle article for publication on blogs or elsewhere

Thanks:  These are my observations and lessons learnt from organising a tweetchat for the first time. I do hope they help and encourage you to get involved in a chat and to facilitate, they are great fun, generate a real buzz and to me prove the potential business and learning power of twitter is yet to be fully realised

I am indebted to Cindy @Urbanverse, a great friend and seasoned tweetchat expert for help and guidance