Open Future NZ "Search for and join groups of people who share your own interests."

The Future is Collaborative
By Gerry McGovern

Open_Future
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  Creating trusted connections between people that make new learning and innovation possible.  

The network rewards collaborators and punishes hoarders.  The future belongs to those who can combine the strength of community with the openness of globalization.

To join a network is to collaborate, to blog is to collaborate, to participate in group discussions is to collaborate.

Many organizations face the challenge of a silo mentality that the intranet will help to break down.  Connecting to people beyond the company can free up communication across the company.  We need to allow the use of software that is staff-centred rather than organization centred.  For instance a common task is just to find people in other departments. 

Community is a very strong force.  It gives people identity, roots, comfort and a sense of place. 

But community can have a dark side, as in closed communities.  Community can encourage suspicion and even hatred of those outside.  Tradition can be wonderful, but it can also strangle innovation and hold back progress.

Scandinavia is an amazing place. You would think its high taxes would discourage entrepreneur ship, yet it produces some of the most innovative companies in the world.  Every time I visit Denmark I'm struck by the cooperative and collaborative nature of its people. They are constantly sharing ideas, constantly trying to learn new and better ways of doing things.

To trade we must trust. Primitive societies will only trust members of their own community. Sophisticated societies will trust the stranger as well.

We need to break away from the primitive idea that for a community to thrive it needs to create out-groups to hate.  We can love our own communities and still respect strangers.  It's not a contradiction. 

We can embrace tradition and innovation. We can share and collaborate. In the global network of the Internet, these are things that will make us stronger and more prosperous.

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LinkedIn for example now has over 15 million members, people with a business focus who all expect, or are at least hopeful, that contact with other people across the world might bring them some advantage.  Most of them come with poor understanding of how to begin meeting people and what to do when they first make contact.  The obvious first move for many is to say, "I sell Xxxxxxx, please tell me if you are a buyer".  In my experience that fails 100% of the time. 

You need to get to know people as people.  Apply Stephen Covey's ideas, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Begin with the end in mind, be pro-active, first things first, seek first to understand.  There is huge potential using the LinkedIn network, but proceed slowly.  Small talk is critical as the confidence builder that leads to new offers.  Often you will work as a volunteer, helping someone.  Build trust and confidence. 

Modern electronic networks have many very weak links and willingness to share.

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