February 7, 2012

The Collaboration Commons Idea

One of the problems that I see occurring in both offices and schools is we’re often stuck with 19th century collaboration infrastructure with 21st century technology and wishes.

For example, many libraries (be it K-12 or public) have setups like the following:

In the corporate world, all too often the office looks like the following:

Perhaps more thought should be given to the physical layout of the library or the office. Depending on the situation, it could take a lot of effort but in many cases the lift may not be all that heavy.

People are people. (Depeche Mode said that once)

And if so, we are creatures of socialization. If we want online collaboration to happen, if we want adoption and participation to increase, if we want true interaction and if we want people to become interlocutors, perhaps we start thinking (or re-thinking) the physical layout of our libraries and offices.

Perhaps we start thinking about the ‘Collaboration Commons’.

The library could look like this:

The office could look something like this:

Think of all the collaboration that would be occurring as students and employees would be armed with tablets and laptops.

And yes, there are loads of examples out there today … libraries and offices already in positions of strength by already acting on this type of thinking.

But there are many that are not.


And yes, I know, many of you ‘hate’ the term commons. But work with me, ok? 🙂

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