The Collaboration Curve: Continuous Learning for Continuous Improvement

“Collaboration curves hold the potential to mobilize larger and more diverse groups of participants to innovate and create new value” 
~ John Hagel III, Harvard Business Review

We have all heard of the experience curve and the effects it has on reducing costs and time while increasing accuracy in product and service development- it’s logical.  However, the inherent flaw in the experience curve model for business is that once you reach a certain level of expertise the costs, time and accuracy continue to improve only marginally until a new innovation is introduced.  And it is with the collaboration curve that the innovation increases.

“We’re seeing the emergence of a new kind of learning curve as we scale connectivity and learning , rather than scaling efficiency”

The more participants you have working on a design or project and the more interactions between those participants in a carefully designed collaborative environment, the more the rate of performance improvement goes up.  Essentially, because with continued collaboration comes continuous ideas that translate into continuous innovation.  It eradicates the lull in performance improvement that occurs in the experince curve model.

Take Apple for example.  They are experienceing a seemingly never ending cycle of expansion through the applications for their devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod etc.)  The reason of course is that they crowdsource.  Apple doesn’t think of the hundreds of application ideas and advertise them, they merely offer the platform and software neccessary for their users to develop apps based on their own ideas – and because of it the App Store is massive and Apple continues to gain revenue, reputation and offer continuously evolving product.

So I urge you to consider how you are applying the Collaboration Curve learning cycle in your organization?

This entry was posted in Collaboration, Collective Intellegence, Innovation and tagged , , , by John. Bookmark the permalink.

About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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