Stop Collaborating and Cooperate


To share knowledge, don’t Collaborate: Co-Operate

Let’s talk about “sharing”.

The uninteresting, ordinary meaning is simply that more than one party gets to use the same thing. But here are a number of things that this does NOT necessarily mean:

  • Same usage
  • Same understanding
  • Same requirement
  • Same responsibility
  • Same capability
  • Same objective
  • exchanges

Now let’s talk about “collaboration”. The ordinary sense of that is simply a case where more than one party actively works on producing some designated thing in common. Here are a number of things that this does NOT necessarily mean:

  • Balance
  • Teamwork
  • Consensus
  • Synchronicity

The most important idea about having something available to more than one party is the idea that there is “enough to go around”. But the second most important idea is that multiple parties can produce something together that they may not be able to produce separately. Their individual operations combine.

An operation always has a defined purpose.

Shared purpose can lead to multiple operations in co-ordination – or in other words, co-operation.

An operation is also a context for knowledge. Co-operation often means that different kinds of knowledge are convening.

But here’s something to not overlook: a given piece of knowledge can have different meanings in different contexts.

If the different meanings are related to each other in a logical way, their relationship can drive production forward. The logic can even suggest an entirely new kind of production.

The magic of knowledge sharing is in knowing what a piece of knowledge means to a partner, and making decisions to operate with that partner accordingly. But the decisions will also be tempered by what that piece of knowledge directly means to you. There’s your logic.

In other words, meaningful knowledge sharing boils down very quickly to one thing: communication.

If sharing knowledge does not create or improve communication, there is probably not much reason to share it.