Leave it to a food blog to teach me the value of collaboration and Web 2.0 socialization of ideas.
Backing up, I’m not what you would call a natural team player. Though I play well with others in the sandbox of life, my work products tend to be solo efforts. As I watch my daughters navigate the college years where now where nothing seems to be an individual assignment, I am grateful I made it through before group projects became all the rage.
I only worked on one group project in college--and I’m still miffed about it. Out of a group of six, two of us did 90% of all the work. And one of us, namely me, was saddled with pulling it all together the night before it was due.
So when the evangelist of the New Web started preaching the value of collaboration I was not a ready-made convert… until, as I mentioned, I started following a food blog
As my waistline battles will attest, I likes me some home cooking. So naturally the first widget I added to my Google homepage was a link to a popular food blog. At first I simply tracked the recipes being posted to see if there were any I wanted incorporate into my Sunday dinner extravaganzas.
Then one day, when the stress and tedium of corporate life could not be alleviated by playing cell phone Tetris in a bathroom stall, I decided to navigate the comments of said food blog. Expecting nothing but thumbs up and thumbs down I was amazed but what I found.
Some comments clarified how the recipe should be executed. This proved especially valuable on recipes for baked goods. (I can cook, but my baking--like my love life--often comes up limp and unfulfilling.) Other comments suggested variations on the basic recipe that even my fertile imagination would have never conjured. And the thumbs up/thumbs down comments helped guide my decision as to whether I should plagiarize the recipe and attempt to pass it off as my own creation… oh wait, I would never do that.
Collaboration really does translate into innovation. As I began to grasp that concept I saw the utility of incorporating sociability features (comments, ratings, wikis, etc,) into the software and web development projects I was working on. Eventually this gave birth to www.brainstorm101.org, a website that allows the public sector collaborate on innovations, best practices and challenging questions—allowing for real change in the way government operates.
Does everyone contribute equally? Of course not, But as my food blog experience taught me, too many cooks actually don’t spoil the broth. Working together, far superior results can be achieved