John Hagel and John Seely Brown on the collaboration curve

a new kind of performance curve is emerging: the collaboration curve. This is characterized by increasing returns: the more participants — and interactions between those participants — you add to a carefully designed and nurtured environment, the more the rate of performance improvement accelerates.

The collaboration curve helps explain the rise of network-centric efforts ranging from open source software development to “crowdsourcing” to “creation spaces.” In nearly all of these group efforts, rapid leaps in performance improvement arise as participants get better faster by working with others.

John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, Six Fundamental Shifts in the Way We Work, Harvard Business Review, Blogs, 17 August 2010.


  1. says

    I like this idea of increasing returns, adding participation. I call it creating challenges for the participants, giving them a reason to be there and participate: helping them create meaning

    But one thing that I am starting to realise is that it is also needed to foster a practice of transparency. I still see many people who ‘think’ Collaboration (giving, sharing…) happens in only one direction: theirs.
    That probably tells a lot about them …not only as knowledge workers but also as individuals
    How do we go about transforming participants into contributors and collaborators?

    • Pascal Venier says

      Thanks for your comment, Cristina. I was listening again yesterday to one of Dave Snowden’s podcast, “Jon Husband interview with Dave Snowden on Web 2.0“. In this interview with Wirearchy‘s Jon Husband (@johnhusband), Dave Snowden (@snowded) was touching on the crucial issue of sharing in Knowledge Management. I really like his take on this issue, when he says: “You cannot create a knowledge-sharing culture, but you can increase the interaction between people, you can increase their interdependency and you can increase the immediacy of their knowledge management requests.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *