Unprecedented Collaboration

Meme – Unprecedented Collaboration

Enterprise innovation is like a forced cross country trip in separate cars with a few hundred people randomly selected off the street.

Meaningful enterprise innovation routinely expects to large impromptu teams of people to work across the departments, teams, and roles that structure work within an organization.   For what may be years, diverse individuals with different outlooks, business drivers, and skill sets must effectively collaborate in entirely unprecedented ways.

What makes this shared journey difficult is:

  • Impromptu Structure – The project must in effect create an organization to deliver their ideas.   The existing structures that support most business activity in the organization are seldom suitable for the job.
  • No Shared Leadership – Because new business capabilities drive across an organization, the closest thing to a common leader may be found in the C Level offices.   Since it is unlikely that the CEO is going to stop down and supervise cross team negotiations, this means that the initiative must provide its own leadership resources.
  • Different Backgrounds – Diverse business domains will be bought together with technologists.   They will often both speak and think in different ways.   A translator / negotiator often seems to be needed to make the United Nations like collection of viewpoints communicate.
  • Difficult Journey – Doing something truly original can be a difficult and contentious adventure.  Keeping the marriage together and functioning is challenge over such a long unmapped journey. 

These challenges can derail a project. Friction, misunderstanding, lack of communication, gaps and dropped balls, and deviations from the shared vision impair the ability of the team to deliver practical action.

 Filling these gaps requires conscious strategies to coordinate action, spot and resolve problems, and manage team dynamics.   This should be one of the key ongoing responsibilities of a Business Integration Architect.  


Complicated diverse cross enterprise teams will not manage themselves. 

Good Reads: 


Brainstorming Questions

  • Can we bring people physically closer together?  Could we collocate key teams?
  • Who will own the identification and resolution of cross team issues?
  • How often do we talk with each stakeholder on the initiative?  How could we talk more?
  • Who translates between business and technology ?
  • Who makes sure that no stakeholder is left out or unfairly excluded from the solution?
  • Who makes peace?
  • When was the last time the team went out and just spent social time together?

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