“Homo homini lupus est” from this Latin adage, perfectly illustrates the secular concern of the Human towards the Unknown. Literally, “Man is a wolf for Man”, this three-thousand-year-old expression has travelled through time and writings to try to find its own meaning. However, neither Pliny the Elder in the 1st century, Erasmus in the 15th century, nor Schopenhauer in the 19th century, have provided any more than a philosophical definition, sometimes metaphysical, of this “a priori”, preceding the interaction between two members of the same environment.
Nevertheless, the current scientific consensus, based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, demonstrates the evolutionary compromise of stable equilibrium: Nature (ergo Evolution) estimates that the human environment is 10% competitive, and 90% collaborative. Prosaically explained, the share of left-handed people in the population, regardless of the period in history, is 10% left-handed, against 90% right-handed. And to evolve as a species, but above all in its environment, is mainly to know how to share knowledge (know-how) and use the same tools (interpersonal skills)! Man makes his tools in such a way that they are easily prehensive and correspond to the needs of the greatest number of people.
This vision, therefore, provides a first plausible explanation for the mistrust of one individual towards another. The inequality in the use of tools, inherent in the nature of human beings, tends to demonstrate that collaboration is not innate for all.
In a perfect world, Evolution would have naturally led to ambidextrousness, so that everyone would be equal with the tools. But the reality is quite different. In an age of dematerialization, technology is changing the way we interact and transform tools, but not the inequity between actors.
The use of “collaborative spaces” in companies is becoming increasingly important, but requires a change in practices in order to be successful. To understand this criticality, a survey recently published by Arctus in November 2018, dealing with “Working collaboratively with online tools”, illustrates the use of these new tools, here are some important data to remember:
- Only 1 person out of 2 is trained to use collaborative spaces. (Average number of training modules per person = 1.7)
- For respondents, these tools are primarily used to create links between members of the organization (65%), compared to only 28% for putting them in contact with “knowers” to share good practices, in particular (experts…).
- For more than half of the users, collaborative spaces correspond above all to a document sharing application, far ahead of collaborative project management applications. It should be noted that, on average, organizations deploy two or more collaborative devices internally.
In essence, users use the collaborative space at least several times a week, where value is built through collective intelligence. But this space for the exchange of skills is still underdeveloped and/or poorly exploited today. In fact, there is, for example, an overlay of layers, which only makes the process even more complex. It is, therefore, because the use of an online collaborative tool is considered too nebulous, and sometimes sprawling, that refractories to these practices appear.
So, the best practice to set up as regards the installation of collaborative online work tool is above all to train employees to use the proposed tools. So that the information channel is clear and can best benefit. That the “knowing” transmits it to the “learner”, who in turn will share it with the next generation. All this in order to put an end to bad practices and ensure the transition to “coopetition.”