Comment on “Stop Blaming the Tools when Collaboration Fails”

Another “down the rabbit hole” post and comment stream from Luis Suarez with a great contribution in the comments from Martin White

There are some interesting papers to follow up in the comments (as an aside, shame how much of academic publishing is still locked behind paywalls)

Martin comments:

I think it is more about a view that academic research is not of value together with an inability or unwillingness to find the research. It’s certainly out there. A search for collaboration in Google Scholar comes up with 4 million references, albeit many are more about scientific collaboration than business collaboration. Because academic research is almost always technology-neutral the outcomes can be translated into current practice.

Luis responds

it’s always been said how far apart from each other both the academic and the business worlds have been all along, to the point where they remain irreconcilable, it’s going to become an on-going challenge unless either one of them, or both!, would concede, give in and decides to get closer. I think it’s very much needed, because I certainly agree with you there are tons of superb research done out there around sociology and it would have a tremendous impact if it were injected, applied, adapted and iterated in a business context.

On the other hand, the academic world also needs to get closer to the business world vs. continuing to live in a bubble (if they ever have). I think it’s down to us, practitioners, to bridge both worlds and get them to understand each other

From personal experience I would suggest some of those barriers to deeper adoption of academic insight in the business world (apart from simple prejudice) are:

  • access to the material (see comment about paywalls above)
  • accessiblity of the material – reading formal academic material effectively and efficiently is an acquired skill
  • the mismatch between the narrowly specialized nature of most academic research and the broader nature of most people’s skills in the commercial world

Of these, in many ways I think the biggest is that last mismatch. I’m not convinced that we have ‘T-shaped‘ professionals any more, or if we have the ‘T’ has several legs, and the cross-bar is of quite varying thicknesses, with some very long tails (mixed metaphor alert!!))

(Aside, I did leave this as a comment, but for some reason my comments are not appearing – perhaps I’ve been moderated!)

Proactive application of technology to business

My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change