Applied collaboration – fixing errors
Another benefit of collaborative work: It allows to fix errors without having to make a drama out of it.
You can fix your own errors, because your publications are always open for editing and it will be nothing unusual that there is a new version out from time to time.
You can also fix other people’s errors without having to address them directly and without having to waste your time on thinking how to address them properly so that nobody gets upset. (That’s another interesting thing about errors: We often don’t notice our errors, even if people point them out to us. We rather tend to think that people are stupid. So they have to tell us again and probably again – what makes trouble unevitable.)
Of course you can do that only if you are really positive about what you want to change. That challenges the quality of your own work.
So, considering the whole picture: Collaboration does not only improve work results because pepople can share knowledge and experience, but also because collaborators have to work even harder to deliver results that they can’t be blamed for – or to deliver results that are not edited /corrected by colleagues.
Maybe that does not apply to collaboration outside in the everyday world. It definitely applies to internal collaboration in the enterprise: According to my experience, users are very shy and slow in adopting “real” collaboration features; they rather tend to add comments, start discussion threads or work in annotations. It takes a while before they really dare to edit a document even if it’s been there, open and probably assigned to them, for a while.
Let’s not be naive: “Real” collaborators are always a minority.
Besides that, the power of collaboration may also become it’s biggest threat: You don’t publish the information you have on your mind not only because you are shy, lazy and ignorant, but also because you are demanding way more quality from your own work then usual.
You do voluntary work, it can be directly related to your name, actually one reason for doing it is that you want to become a known expert, everybodz should understand, that you are smart. So it has to be twice as good.
And the probability to get some content through collaboration again has shrunk.
Is it anyway worth trying it? To my experience – definitely.
The one contribution you may get through voluntary contribution, maybe in a wiki, is – at least in a professional enterprise environment – more worth then the twentzsomething contributions you get, if you address your peers directly and force them to answer.