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Innovation via Computer Collaboration- Examples?

Posted on 1999-01-27
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I'm looking for "best practices" examples which demonstrate how "Computer Supported Collaborative Work" technology, such as Lotus Notes, is being used to generate breakthrough technical innovation.
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Question by:Jeperson
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by:wrichard
ID: 1117998
Check out this website.  It is the customer story section of the Lotus Enteprise Integration web site.

http://www.eicentral.lotus.com/eibu_knowbase.nsf/getdocs?OpenAgent&xleiycus%pr=Lotus+Enterprise+Integrator%dt=Customer+Story

Also at www.lotus.com under the solutions section there are success stories for different industries.

Hope this helps...
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by:Jeperson
ID: 1117999
I checked out the 7 examples from the Lotus customer stories URL.  I found these applications described how lotus notes was able to more efficiently replace an existing business process.  However, I'm more interested in the power of networking and knowledge sharing among humans to create new knowledge, discovery and ultimately produce technical innovation.  To me, this is the holy grail that information technology offers.  Sophisticated information tools are available today which allow for anytime/anyplace knowledge sharing;  is there anybody out there that has figured out how to exploit this by creating a "Virtual Innovation Laboratory" which connects experts across a range of disciplines and industries to collaborate, brainstorm and achieve breakthrough innovation?
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by:Jeperson
ID: 1118000
Adjusted points to 205
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by:ChrisD
ID: 1118001
there is no doubt that Notes can be used for the type of collaboration you talk about however Notes is primarily used in  organization - specific environments. Companies are very reluctant to share information with others or to open up thier computer systems to outside parties. I would suggest that this kind of collaboration, although very useful and productive, can only be based on trust, which is one of the things we are losing in todays society.
I am sure you could find examples of how global organizations have collaborated internally accross countries, using Notes, to reach a common goal and in fact - to innovate and improve current procedures / practices. After all, that is what Notes is for.
One problem you will have, even if you contact an organization who has acheived innovation through collaboration, would be that they would be reluctant to tell you how the acheived it - most companies keep their cards close to their chest.
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Author Comment

by:Jeperson
ID: 1118002
ChrisD, I believe your above comment describes the current situation very well.  Specifically, using Lotus Notes or other Computer Supported Cooperative Work(CSCW) applications to create technical innovation is under-utilized today.  And, the few global organizations that may be doing this would not be likely to share their successes because of reluctance to reveal a business practice that affords them a proprietary advantage.

As you said, trust is the major hurdle to overcome in order to reap the rewards of increased innovation through effective collaboration. I've been playing with the idea of creating a technical consulting business which helps companies innovate.  I would do this by orchestrating on-line brainstorming sessions among technical experts that are diverse in area of expertise, industry of practice, and geographic location.  My search for examples of "best practices" is to find out what has been done successfully in this area so that I may better refine my operating strategy and develop a sound business model (i.e. how to make money).  
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by:ChrisD
ID: 1118003
I think you have found an area which is currently under-developed. There are small examples around, this web site for one. But I am unaware of anything on a more specific, larger scale.
It is a dream of many technical experts I am sure to have the ability to consult a resource of the kind we are discussing. I am also sure that if a large scale project of this type were to be accomplished commercially - the financial rewards as well as the innovations acheived would be unmeasureable.

Count me in.
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Author Comment

by:Jeperson
ID: 1118004
ChrisD, I think you and I are kindred spirits.  I’d like to hear more comments from experts within the Expert Exchange forum.  Specifically, one useful thing I could learn is  what are the rewards (money, professional challenge, networking, competition, altruism,  etc.)   that motivate experts to voluntarily participate in the Exchange?
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Author Comment

by:Jeperson
ID: 1118005
Adjusted points to 255
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Expert Comment

by:ChrisD
ID: 1118006
Here is a summary of an example concerning teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students.

http://www.educ.kent.edu/deafed/80-020.htm
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Author Comment

by:Jeperson
ID: 1118007
I like the example of teachers collaborating with student teachers on education of hearing impaired children.  The take-away for me is that this collaboration was successful in part because both participants (teachers and student teachers) had something to gain by participating (although interesting they probably benefited differently).  The key is that they both gained new knowledge that helped them.  I wonder if an expert participating in a Virtual Brainstorming session would similarly be motivated by the potential to extract new knowledge?  Is this enough of a reward, or will some compensation for any useful intellectual property produced be expected?
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by:ChrisD
ID: 1118008
I would say that the reward always depends on the time and effort put into the task.

While it is always nice to receive some form of payment for ones efforts, if the time taken to complete a task is only seconds - a "thank you" is all that is required.
If an individual takes a lot of time and effort, researching and maticulousley working on something - the reward must be more.

Using this forum as an example, my efforts are rewarded in two ways. By answering other peoples questions I gain a personal satisfaction. I also gain the opportunity to have my questions answered by receiving points. I would never spend more than 5 / 10 minutes on any question really - unless I was in pursuit of the answer for myself - I would then be glad to share it with others.

I think there is a spectrum of reward / effort and this effects every area. The fact that there are no large rewards given for answering questions on this site is a factor in making it accessable to everybody and thus, successful.

In many cases monetary rewards are not important. For a professional, especially in this industry, the pursuit of knowledge is also the pursuit of success. Knowledge has always been power. To this end, I believe that for those ambitious enough (and with enough time on their hands)participating in a virtual brainstorming session for no other reward than gaining new knowledge would probably be, to them, quite worthwhile.

I think the underlying fact here is that you can't get something for nothing. If providing someone with a service of any kind, you will expect to receive an equivalent payment. The "sharing" of knowledge is not really so. I believe it to be the exchange of knowledge. even when talking of collaboration, both parties are gaining something - neither would give up their information for free.
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ChrisD earned 260 total points
ID: 1118009
This question has been on the exchange for a while. I doubt if you will get any more suggestions now - I suggest you remove it. The question list is getting a bit long.
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