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Collaboration Systems & Services

Human nature tells us that we are more inclined to share in our failures than our successes. While we are ready and willing to come together to discuss our "problems," we prefer to keep our thoughts about solutions, and the attendant advantages they may bring, to ourselves. This tendency works against us when it comes time to collaborate, making it difficult for us to find mutually acceptable solutions once we agree on the existence and nature of common problems.

Unfortunately, when this behavior is generalized across an entire community, especially in communities with strong cultural and historical traditions, it impedes progress and frustrates innovation by stifling consideration of alternatives that might benefit everyone. "Open" communities that can conceive of and share solutions evolve much faster. They succeed and fail faster, collectively learning and adapting as they go. Such communities tend to be more vibrant and wealthy than those that are unable to effectively utilize collaboration tools and techniques to develop shared visions and the means to achieve them.

In recent years computer enhanced and internet connected systems have been deployed for sharing information and knowledge that are breaking down many old cultural and political silos that sustained isolation and prevented collaboration. More recently, these same networked information systems are allowing the sharing of processes, permitting the growth of "virtual organizations," enterprises that span traditional commercial, governmental and educational boundaries.

Search engines, social networking and multi-participant games are clearly demonstrating just how powerful "community" is--on a global scale. In this internetworked world, distance is technically irrelevant. We are now allowed, if not encouraged, to share our ideas, our lessons learned and our solutions, activities that transcend traditional social and operational barriers. Such systems provide a new and expanded "context" in which to frame and discuss issues and in which to conceive of effective solutions. They allow participants to manage their individual and group expectations and, through modeling and simulations to experiment with solutions and to predict outcomes with greater fidelity. These emerging real-time collaborative systems offer hope for minimizing our natural tendencies to keep our ideas to ourselves, to minimize the costs of experimenting with alternatives prior to committing to a particular solution, and see first hand how our individual energies can positively affect a broader agenda.

The Institute will promote and participate in developing a creative collaboration environment through its own research. It will introduce new tools for promoting collaborative scientific research and technological innovation in the region. The tools, to be developed and hosted on the Institute's website, will encourage inter-disciplinary and inter-organizational collaboration by

  • Raising the visibility of local research professionals thereby accelerating the formation of optimally effective research teams.
  • Increasing the likelihood of obtaining large-scale funding from governmental sources by encouraging local researchers to organize around inter-disciplinary, collaborative research topics.
  • Reducing the "time to discovery" and, subsequently, "time to market" for innovations by encouraging creative collaboration among research professionals, commercial enterprises, government economic policy development and the activities of institutions dedicated to education and workforce development.