Collabowriting, Institupedia & co-think

New times bring new technologies, and with new technologies there come new words. My buddy Max just wrote up some new vocab for useful collaborative efforts enabled by web technology:

Collabowriting is the most straight forward of the three and its significance should be easy to decifer as it is a simple combination of the word collaborate and write to describe the practice of writing a document together. Collabowriting has been possible long before the advent of wikis and other IT collaboration tools, but the practice of jointly letting a document emerge was much less dovetailed and with less interaction. So true collabowriting is a rather recent phenomenon and most of us are still rather stone-age when it comes to doing it efficiently.

Agreed – most of us are still pretty much stone age when it comes to really using collaborative writing tools. (And no: “Why don’t you send me your Word doc and I’ll add some notes!” does not count.)

What I like even more, though, is his idea of Institupedias: Wikis, used by institutions, to create “an institutional encyclopedia in order to allow for collective and discursive definition of the institutions vocabulary.” Note that this is not just about creating more efficient knowledge networks (which of course is incredibly important and priceless for any kind of institution). The Institupedia focuses on the vocabulary that people use in their day-to-day interactions, all the acronyms, the slang, the lingo. Every single company or organization has a set of words they use for certain things or processes, sometimes even for people. Just think back for a moment to when you first started to work for your employer, or talked to your professors, or your clients: They all use a certain terminology which just cascades and trickles all the way through the very thought processes. There’s a good reason why consultants (good ones anyway) first adapt to their clients terminology when they start working there.

Last but not least is co-think, the state or rather mindset you can hopefully achieve by employing the above-mentioned techniques.

Cothink is a literal translation from the German term “mitdenken” that my dictionary translates as: 1. show some initiative, think (things through); 2. [please cothink!] help me (or us) think; 3. follow someone’s train of thought. In general i would claim that cothink happens when an individual identifies to some degree with the scenario and thus applies his being to the situation. Two conditions have to be met to enable cothink: (a) the individual has to be motivated to help (team spirit etc. come to mind) and (b) the person needs to know / have information about the scenario. Developing an institupedia where the emerging plans, projects etc. are defined will enable at least the latter condition and probably contribute to the former as a positive spiral can be triggered.

Right on!