"Why in-house collaboration is so difficult" is the title of a really interesting piece by Andrew Campbell, originally published in the UK Financial Times in 2006.
Andrew looks at various standard reasons for the failure of collaboration, such as Not-Invented-Here, or "new skills in old structures", and instead, based on his own research, that there are several common reasons why Collaboration fails.
- Synergies may be a mirage
- Collaboration between departments may confuse the departments' primary purpose
- Big investments may be needed before synergies are delivered, and the investment may outweigh the value delivered. Opportunity costs are too great.
- There may be no mechanism to decide which practices are "best"
- There may be buried rivalries
- There may be incompatable IT systems
Andrew's recommendation, which echoes the warnings of Morten Hansen, is simple.
Like anything else in Knowledge Management, collaboration is not an end in itself - it is only a mechanism to add value.
Work out the value proposition, and maybe in-house collaboration will not be so difficult after all.