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Virtual Collaboration

After reading so much the past few weeks about group collaboration it is finally time to begin this as a class. Our ideas and contributions will develop a website that will educate and inform the public. Wikis for the most part are new to me other than occasionally researching a topic and finding it on Wikipedia. Up until now I never realized that anyone could post a wiki to the public, and because of that we must be careful about the content that we choose to provide and how it will be presented.

There are definitely advantages to using a wiki. We can collaborate as a class without having to meet at specific times or keep at the same pace. We are able to keep our ideas in one place so that all can see and add, remove, and edit as we go along. As from the reading I think it can be best described as "A wiki is a website where every page can be edited in a web browser, by whomever happens to be reading it. It's so terrifically easy for people to jump in and revise pages that wikis are becoming known as the tool of choice for large, multiple-participant projects." (Stafford and Webb).

While the advantages to using a wiki are great, it is important to keep in mind that there are also some disadvantages. Since each of us are going to be contributing to this site it is extremely important that it appears uniform and well structured. By that I mean that we want it to be easy to use and not messy, because that may lead us to lose our intended audience.

It is our goal to create an informational site about the 35W bridge collapse to the public. In order to achieve that success we must take important steps to reach our end goal. Last week we each chose a topic to cover and become knowledgeable with. We then each prepared a task list that should keep us on track. Although everyone's list is different, they all keep us on a schedule that best suits our personal goals.

I predict that this class will teach me how to effectively collaborate using today's technology and will in turn help me succeed in the workplace. The web is reshaping workplaces in a profound way. "Increasingly employees are using blogs, wikis, and other new tools to collaborate and form ad hoc communities across departmental and organizational boundaries." (Wikinomics, pg. 240). A perfect example of how wikis can aid in collaboration and innovation in the workplace is the company Geek Squad. These employees use wikis to "brainstorm new ideas, manage projects, swap service tips, ans socialize with their peers." (Wikinomics, pg. 240). At the start this company had 60 employees and was earning $3 million in annual revenue. "Today Geek squad has grown to 12,000 service agents, and under Best Buy's umbrella the division clocks nearly $1 billion in services from over 700 locations across North America, and returns $280 million to Best Buy's bottom line." (Wikinomics, 239).

Companies are moving away from the hierarchial workplaces and implementing more collaborative and socially connected ideas. More and more companies are finding that they are becoming more successful by using the ideas from their employees. As Robert Stevens creator of the Geek Squad learned, " First observe, and then implement. I am deathly afraid of wasting time and energy trying to get people to do something they don't want to do. So next time, before I build that shiny new playground, I'm going to think about how Geek Squad agents are already organizing--it's just more efficient that way." ( Wikinomics, pg. 245).

Today's workplace is becoming more self-organizing. Mass collaboration is being created with the use of wikis and is changing the way good and services are created. Companies that change from a traditional hierarchial structure and allow the use of creativity and technology will be able to have a competitive edge and in turn be more successful.

Comments

I agree that wikis are great, but you are right, they do have some disadvantages. I believe that content needs to be clearly organized... however how credible is the material that we put on our wiki? How do we know what material is credit worthy? We need to screen and sift the information very carefully

I agree that wikis are great, but you are right, they do have some disadvantages. I believe that content needs to be clearly organized... however how credible is the material that we put on our wiki? How do we know what material is credit worthy? We need to screen and sift the information very carefully

I was just commenting on another entry that I see none of the changes in my workplace that the Wikinomics authors describe. On the other hand, due to a reorganization, the managers of my department are gone. Will this change is distressing, it's also liberating. My colleagues and I have realized that for once we have the opportunity to try out our own ideas! We've been self-organizing de facto for about a month now and having successes we probably would not have experienced before. I certainly hope that our new managers will be receptive to our ideas and collaborate with us in implementing them in the future. Regardless, I've recently joined some cross-campus initiatives that I will continue to promote--if for no other reasons than that it is a bottom-up, collaborative sort of project. At least that way, I'll get experience working the new wiki-way.