Collaborative projects have found popularity with organizations in recent years. In the music industry, however, collaborations have long been a staple. The coming together of various musicians from different styles has produced some of the most interesting songs ever created. An example of this is the album Raising Sand, a collaboration from bluegrass star Alison Krauss and a little known classic rocker by the name of Robert Plant. The album won the Grammy for best album of the year in 2008 and the song “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)” won best pop collaboration. Check out the song here for some mood music while I go on to explore how collaboration works with wikis.
Wikis have become the new go-to tool to help organizations with collaborative projects. Nichani says that “modern work is collaborative…it’s about many people having bits and pieces of the answers and each depending on the other for it.” As a way to encourage this collaborative mantra, wikis enable users to have up to date documents, information, and input from members on a team. With server space quickly becoming a problem, organizations are looking to wikis as areas where precious space can be freed up from inboxes and put on the web. Farkas highlights this point in her article where she says that “all of the planning and communications can be documented in the wiki rather than in emails that can easily be deleted.”
The government of Canada has GCPEDIA an internal wiki intended to allow public servants to share information across offices, cities, and most importantly, departments. In such a large organization, the silo effect of keeping information hidden within departmental lines does not serve to increase the knowledge management of the public service. On his blog David Eaves says that GCPEDIA will “save the public service” since a disproportionate number of upper executives are nearing retirement. He says we need tools like GCPEDIA in order to transfer information to other employees before it is lost to fanny packs and winters in Florida.
In today’s organizational culture, there is a push towards opening up access and sharing information. Wikis can be used as a tool to enable people to do their jobs better since they allow for the answer to the question in my blog title: COLLABORATION. By having all aspects of a project collocated in one place and updated regularly, people are working with all of the information all of the time. This results in quicker, better results. Using wikis in library and corporate settings makes economic as well as social sense. And has been demonstrated by the Krauss-Plant example, collaboration between new partners can produce, ahem, beautiful music.