DailyPost 1999

How much do we really collaborate? Can there be a collaboration index by which we give an objective analysis on an enterprise? Is collaboration a cherished goal at all? Which sectors do we find the maximum collaboration? Collaboration as a philosophy has not been ingrained in the Indian psyche or might be to some extent globally too. There is some amount of fear that instead of doing good, it might be detrimental. If common place information is so guarded, where will the collaboration come from? Is collaboration a working state which comes into being after the organizational subunits become seamless? Collaboration can be taught only by practice is another challenge and until and unless you have lived and experienced it, its utility is difficult to believe.

Schools, colleges, families and professional organizations don’t teach this, and it is difficult to pick up an operational trait on your own. You will rarely find an opportunity to get into a collaborative work or project. It is a truth that there are few and far between. Both broken and forced collaboration you may find in a variety of IT projects. It is so because there is no choice. Collaboration by choice can only be called collaboration. Working in a co-located team, multi-organizational, can give you some idea about collaboration. If the team members synergize and synthesize and also the organizations delivering, as if they were one team, gives an indication of an ongoing successful collaborative experiment.

Shooting mails when not required at all, while being collocated is the antithesis of collaboration. Does the head of a collocated team enjoy the fruits of collaboration? Coming together to attend some tasks and then pushing off is not collaboration. It is a sustained professional and interpersonal relationship, delivering the purpose for which the collaboration was created or got developed. Most of the successful collaborations happen outside the structured professional commercial game. Having happened on the outside, it might turn out to be a good commercial or non-governmental entity. Shared purpose and trust is at the core of collaboration. Co-operative federalism, in simple terms, is collaboration in governance. Have we ever achieved this goal? Political parties may have stitched the two together but not the governments.

Political and governmental collaboration could have changed the face of this country by now. Government could deliver everything out of its own resources, if they were trained in collaboration. Nobody approaches anybody. Power gets shared in collaboration is a general feeling, while on the contrary it should be an empowering experience. Think of Covid-19 management on the genuine collaborative mode. See the multi-stakeholder IT project collaboration, more often than not, it gets unstuck. Indians want only financial collaboration. Collaborative academic exercises and research is still a big no no. Even within an organization very rarely cross departmental projects are successful. By force it might be. The power of collaboration can make anything deliverable. Complementary and supplementary capabilities and resources have to come together to deliver beyond the daily rigmarole.

Sanjay Sahay

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