Collaboration is a structured, recursive process where two or more people work together toward a common goal—typically an intellectual endeavor  that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require leadership and can even bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.
Structured methods of collaboration encourage introspection of behavior and communication. These methods specifically aim to increase the success of teams as they engage in collaborative problem solving. Forms, rubrics, charts and graphs are useful in these situations to objectively document personal traits with the goal of improving performance in current and future projects.
The 2,751 Liberty ships built in four years by the United States during World War II required new approaches in organization and manufacturing as a discipline, Project Management developed from different fields of application including construction, engineering, and defense. In the United States, the forefather of project management is Henry Gantt, called the father of planning and control techniques, who is famously known for his use of the "bar" chart as a project management tool, for being an associate of Frederick Winslow Taylor's theories of scientific management, and for his study of the work and management of Navy ship building. His work is the forerunner to many modern project management tools including the work breakdown structure (WBS) and resource allocation.
The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Again, in the United States, prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts, and informal techniques and tools. At that time, two mathematical project scheduling models were developed: (1) the "Program Evaluation and Review Technique" or PERT, developed as part of the United States Navy's (in conjunction with the Lockheed Corporation) Polaris missile submarine program; and (2) the "Critical Path Method" (CPM) developed in a joint venture by both DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation for managing plant maintenance projects. These mathematical techniques quickly spread into many private enterprises.
In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed to serve the interest of the project management industry. The premise of PMI is that the tools and techniques of project management are common even among the widespread application of projects from the software industry to the construction industry. In 1981, the PMI Board of Directors authorized the development of what has become A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), containing the standards and guidelines of practice that are widely used throughout the profession. The International Project Management Association (IPMA), founded in Europe in 1967, has undergone a similar development and instituted the IPMA Project Baseline. Both organizations are now participating in the development of a global project management standard.
- Black Mountain College
- Founded in 1933 by John Andrew Rice, Theodore Dreier and other former faculty of Rollins College, Black Mountain was experimental by nature and committed to an interdisciplinary approach, attracting a faculty which included many of America's leading visual artists, poets, and designers.
Operating in a relatively isolated rural location with little budget, Black Mountain College inculcated an informal and collaborative spirit, and over its lifetime attracted a venerable roster of instructors. Some of the innovations, relationships and unexpected connections formed at Black Mountain would prove to have a lasting influence on the postwar American art scene, high culture, and eventually pop culture. Buckminster Fuller met student Kenneth Snelson at Black Mountain, and the result was the first geodesic dome (improvised out of slats in the school's back yard); Merce Cunningham formed his dance company; and John Cage staged his first happening.
Not a haphazardly conceived venture, Black Mountain College was a consciously directed liberal arts school that grew out of the progressive education movement. In its day it was a unique educational experiment for the artists and writers who conducted it, and as such an important incubator for the American avant garde. Black Mountain proved to be an important precursor to and prototype for many of the alternative colleges of today ranging from the University of California, Santa Cruz to Hampshire College and Evergreen State College, among others.
- Learning Community
Dr. Wolff-Michael Roth and Stuart Lee of the University of Victoria assert that until the early 1990s the individual was the 'unit of instruction' and the focus of research. The two observed that researchers and practitioners switched to the idea that knowing is 'better' thought of as a cultural practice. Roth and Lee also claim that this led to changes in learning and teaching design in which students were encouraged to share their ways of doing mathematics, history, science, with each other. In other words, that children take part in the construction of consensual domains, and 'participate in the negotiation and institutionalisation of … meaning'. In effect, they are participating in learning communities.
This analysis does not take account of the appearance of Learning communities in the United States in the early 1980s. For example, The Evergreen State College, which is widely considered a pioneer in this area, established an intercollegiate learning community in 1984. In 1985, this same college established the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education, which focuses on collaborative education approaches, including learning communities as one of its centerpieces.
Collaboration—or joint production by two or more artists—is a common style among musicians and performance artists. It has not been so popular, on the other hand, in the world of art, and especially in modern art. But the strong sense of individualism long possessed by artists of fine art began to wane around the 1960s, and some artists working in units have emerged and become widely known along with the development of new media based on the advances in information technology. They have changed the concept of art into something that can be engaged in by more than individual artists alone.
Collaboration in business can be found both inter- and intra-organization and ranges from the simplicity of a partnership to the complexity of a multinational corporation.
See also : Management cybernetics
Musical collaboration occurs when one or more musicians in different places or groups work on the same album or song. Collaboration between musicians, especially with regards to jazz, is often heralded as the epitome of complex collaborative practice. Special software has been written to facilitate musical collaboration over the internet, such as VSTunnel.
Several awards exist specifically for collaboration in music:
Collaboration in publishing can be as simple as dual-authorship or as complex as commons-based peer production. Technological examples include Usenet, e-mail lists, blogs and Wikis while 'brick and mortar' examples include monographs (books) and periodicals such as newspapers, journals and magazines.
Though there is no political institution organizing the sciences on an international level, a self-organized, global network had formed in the late 20th century. Observed by the rise in co-authorships in published papers, Wagner and Leydesdorff found international collaborations to have doubled from 1990 to 2005. While collaborative authorships within nations has also risen, this has done so at a slower rate and is not cited as frequently.
Both as entertainment and as a problem-solving tool, collaboration in technology encompasses video games, distributed computing, knowledge sharing and communication tools. Many large companies are developing enterprise collaboration strategies and standardizing on a collaboration platform.
Collaboration in the technology sector refers to a wide variety of tools that enable groups of people to work together. Collaboration encompasses both asynchronous and synchronous methods of communication and serves as an umbrella-term for a wide variety of software packages. Perhaps the most commonly associated form of synchronous collaboration is web conferencing using tools such as Confer & Inform Meeting, but the term can easily be applied to Instant Messaging as well.
- The Internet
- The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and test, but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups to easily form in the first place, even among niche interests. An example of this is the free software movement in software development which produced GNU and Linux from scratch and has taken over development of Mozilla and OpenOffice.org (formerly known as Netscape Communicator and StarOffice).
- Commons-based peer production
- Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Yale's Law professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the internet) into large, meaningful projects, mostly without traditional hierarchical organization or financial compensation. He compares this to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).
- Examples of products created by means of commons-based peer production include Linux, a computer operating system; Slashdot, a news and announcements web site; Kuro5hin, a discussion site for technology and culture; Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia; and Clickworkers, a collaborative scientific work.
- Massively distributed collaboration
- The term massively distributed collaboration was coined by Mitchell Kapor, in a presentation at UC Berkeley on 2005-11-09, to describe an emerging activity of wikis and electronic mailing lists and blogs and other content-creating virtual communities online.
- ^ Collaborate, Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 2007
- ^ Collaboration, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online, 2007
- ^ Collaboration, Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, (1989). (Eds.) J. A. Simpson & E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- ^ a b Spence, Muneera U. "Graphic Design: Collaborative Processes = Understanding Self and Others." (lecture) Art 325: Collaborative Processes. Fairbanks Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. 13 Apr. 2006.
- ^ a b c d Wagner, Caroline S. and Loet Leydesdorff. Globalisation in the network of science in 2005: The diffusion of international collaboration and the formation of a core group.
- ^ http://principles-of-scientific-management.blogspot.com/
- ^ http://www.boozallen.com/about/history/history_5
- ^ a b Roth, W-M. and Lee, Y-J. (2006) Contradictions in theorising and implementing communities in education. Educational Research Review, 1, (1), pp27–40.
- ^ Lave, J. (1988) Cognition in practice: Mind, mathematics and culture in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- ^ Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- ^ Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989) Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), pp32–42.
- ^ Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (1995) Knowing and interacting: A study of culture, practices, and resources in a grade 8 open-inquiry science classroom guided by a cognitive apprenticeship metaphor. Cognition and Instruction, 13, 73–128.
- ^ Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3, pp265–283.
- ^ The Cognition and Technology Group (1994). From visual word problems to learning communities: Changing conceptions of cognitive research. In K. McGilly (Ed.), Classroom lessons: Integrating cognitive theory and classroom practice (pp. 157–200). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.