How many business relationships are soured because we don’t understand each other as PEOPLE? All the business collaboration tools are focused on “productivity” and “file sharing.” What’s more important - a powerpoint or a picture of your cute kid? Or that mountain biking trip you took last weekend? Or an open invitation to lunch? What gets to the heart of collaboration - the business objects or the social objects?
We live in a world where the hours and places we work - even the collaborators we engage are abstracts of what we recently considered normal. In order to succeed, we’ll have to embrace a new form community, a closeness bred by social tools that are truly social - not masking themselves as collaborative enterprise tools. It’s time to bring your identity to work and feel good about it.
Sol Lipman, Bob Gurwin
The obsessive fixation on productivity that seems to dominate social tools in the business context can be ramped down by balancing the utility of coordinating cowork with the aspirational side of cooperation.
We are doing our work as an outgrowth of our deepest drives: to find meaning and purpose through mastery of our craft and connection with those we respect. The files and tasks and comment threads are artifacts, props, like the backdrops and fake swords at the opera, or the punctuation marks in a great work of fiction. The experience is what matters, not the gizmos.
Yes, Sol is right. We need to embrace — or actually create — a new form of community, one that is undergirded by our propensity for cooperation, and social tools that move past the rigidity and inflexibility of 20th Century ‘collaboration’. We need cooperative tools, where human connection and Maslow’s transpersonal — putting the safety, strivings, and happiness of others first — is placed at the center of our ethos. As Maslow said,
The fully developed (and very fortunate) human being working under the best conditions tends to be motivated by values which transcend himself.
This is the identity that I think Sol is talking about.