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Collaboration: How business and starting-up are changing fast?

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Aug 6, 2012

Have you ever thought you can start right out now? Me neither until last week when I got the essence of collaboration for the first time! I realized my poorly done BBA degree, at last, started to paying off! I guess you certainly remember those boring group works where everybody remains busy planning how to skip it instead of doing work. However, now we have application for those poorly done collaborative works. Let’s start.

What’s the big idea?

Col•lab•o•ra•tion: (Noun) The action of working with someone to produce or create something.

No big idea is accomplished alone. You need people: to support you, to push you, to motivate you, to ask question and to inspire you. And to make your ideas happen connecting with people from all walk of life is important.

The extent of problem in our life is becoming more complex day by day. We can no longer solve many of those problems single handedly. Researchers are failing to find viable solutions to problems they are dealing with, individuals are failing to keep up to their goals, and companies are failing to reach their target on time. These are not unusual. Because our problems need more collaboration. We need support and knowledge from others to break the stagnation. Fortunately, many farsighted entrepreneurs and innovators have already been started the journey.

Back to school: Do you remember group works?

The idea of collaboration is not a new one for us. Rather we are habituated with it. We did group works in colleges and universities. We took help from our peers always whenever we got into a problem and couldn’t solve it. But those all examples of collaboration had limitations. We were within our dimension, discipline, and cage. Going beyond our everyday living was not an option. But things have been changed.

The collaboration I’m talking today is more pervasive. It’s multidisciplinary. People from many walk of life will come to solve same problem. Citizens will involve in designing their own cities and consumers will engage in developing next product. Everybody will share their resources to ensure better living.

Why important?

The challenge of 21st is to activate collaboration in every corner of your business and life. In last 10 years sharing become the life blood of global economy. Now people are developing products to research collaboratively on online platforms. And without much ado we can accept that "social" is the next step of economy. From commerce to communication, product to production, start to finish everything is becoming more collaborative, engaging and social. We are moving fast from the age of information to Network.

The understanding of collaboration is at a time both a challenge and opportunity. For start-up it gives a new window to see how starting is becoming more easier by using collaborative power. On the other hand, existing businesses are in jeopardy to incorporate collaboration in their existing business models. However, many companies have done the job efficiently. Dell is a successful example of using collaboration in their production process.

Besides there are pure collaborative companies like Quirky that called itself social product development platform. LittleBits also another example of this collaborative product development process.

What’s significance?

Although according to many global business experts collaboration is the next step of creativity and business but today I’ll look at how we can use collaboration to start what we want to start.

Forget about lethargic group work experience in your class room. And think about something radical, effective and more engaging. Going online is a good option to start working collaboratively and many of us are doing it. Get out and catch the train.

You can follow few steps like followings:

Get an idea: Idea should be based on something people care about

Make it presentable: How do you want to describe it? Why you want someone to join with you? Why people should come and collaborate with you? What is their benefits? What’s your benefits etc?

Experiment beta: Beta is an important idea. Go Beta and build gradually.

Go online: open a website, open a facebook page, open a facebook group and add only those who are interested and committed enough.

Build a multidisciplinary team: Engage people from different fields. Have a sneak peek how MIT media Lab works.

Evolve: Evolve based on your beta feedback.

Disclaimer: I am no expert or guru. Every day I hear from all kinds of people in our community who are doing much bigger things than me. Moreover, I have been trying to explore the idea of collaboration from last few months. Please let me know if have any idea about how better we can use collaboration to make things happen. Or if you’ve any other ideas to add.

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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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