The Weakest Link: Context

Collaboration is the greatest productivity tool. No other tool or activity can provide productivity like collaboration. This is true not only for humans, but for all species, in all forms of life, as well as for all groups and organizations.

Collaboration is a complex activity requiring coordination and orchestration of all contributors and contributions, typically to achieve common and complementary objectives.

The coordination of contributions depends on various factors but a single one is more important and critical than all others, and that is communication, which applies at all levels of collaboration and is the main key to coordination and effective collaboration.

While this is true and applies to all forms and applications of collaboration, it is especially true in emergency and crisis response and preparedness, where it is simply crucial.

To begin, communication, in every form, is the most sophisticated activity that beings are capable of. It is especially sophisticated as it requires each and every communicating being to use its experience, knowledge, and motivation to imagine, articulate, formulate, encode, transmit, perceive, receive, decode, understand, consider, evaluate, and assimilate knowledge.

Communication is also our most fragile activity as issues happen at every step and because no two beings are the same, each having its own experience, knowledge, motivation, imagination, as well as articulation, formulation, transmission, perception, reception, decoding, understanding, consideration, and assimilation processes.

More so, in most collaboration environments and especially in emergency preparedness and response, beings are also typically organized into multi-level groupings, and each of these groups is also a communicating being, with its own complexities, experience, knowledge, motivation, imagination, and communication processes.

Communication and collaboration are no small feat, and we have not yet even considered the physical aspects, constraints, limitations, and failures that are so common and natural, especially in crisis and emergency conditions, and especially if the collaborating beings have not been trained together, come from very different backgrounds and environments, and more so, if they do not even know each other.

Collaboration success is indeed something to be proud of, and worth every bit of productivity that it provides.

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