I want to focus a bit on what I have started calling the collaboration community.  I am starting to call it the collaboration community because it is a virtual location where people can gather to share and support the needs of the community.  People will always put a familiar wrapper around concepts to help them understand and embrace the concepts and the collaboration network is no different.  This physical technical network provides a virtual location for people and organizations to gather based on shared beliefs, desires or needs. 

Over the years people have been geographically spreading as a result of a few factors; the car provides ease of commuting, highways provide a fast and safe route, the desire to acquire more space to spread out.  As a result there are a great deal of housing development in places further from cities and entertainment has followed the expansion.  The downside to this expansion has been a removal from personal social interaction in many ways, the term cocooning is used to describe this type of practice where people acquire all they need for creature comforts in their home.  Another factor feeding into the removal from social interaction is the very tool that allowed the expansion, the car.  These new housing developments require a car to go anywhere and virtually every destination is at least 20 minutes away. 

Then technology provided a means to maintain a social interaction with friends and family and meet new friends.  Services such as Facebook and LinkedIn provided a method to maintain contact and also to develop new contacts.  These services provided a means to share and also to help others in your connected social network.  These technologies and others that pop up for a while and then sometimes disappear have allowed and encouraged people to maintain contact.  They have provided people with a means to develop the virtual community as the physical sense of community were contracting.

This is where I can get into a ‘chicken and an egg’ debate regarding influencing factors.  Did the expansion of housing developments cause an increase in the virtual social community or does the virtual social community help people to deal with the expansion of housing developments.  My family and I have spent the last 15 years moving around the eastern half of the country for work and so we have great experience with the psychology of moving from one and joining another physical community.  Our experience provides an example of extreme cocooning; when we move we are focused on the comforts of the home initially while exploring and making new friends.  This is where the virtual community becomes important as a means to retain your friends and contacts to share experiences and contacts in new areas.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?