“Collaborability” is a large subject, an enormously large subject. It extends our globalising society, the workings of humans both as individuals and as groups from small up to countries, the collaboration mechanisms that make our modern societies work, our history and spans multiple sciences. Even though collaboration can be seen as a continuous process of specialisation – which is at the hart of economic history – and many of the phenomena we perceive today are translated into economic behaviours Collaborability is not only about economics, far from it.
Collaborability cannot be seen as purely economical, social, historical or any other narrowly scoped perspective. Even though some aspects can be approached in a quantitative way, like network dynamics and some economic phenomena, or can be based on solid scientific data the entanglement of the subjects ask for a different approach.
As I will explore collaborability I am bound to find that we have to combine the knowledge of many sciences, as they have become very specialised themselves. I am looking for a synthesis of the knowledge that we have accumulated, and to invite the various sciences to contribute and further investigate. If I could involve people with better knowledge on such topics and get them to discuss collaborability together I could better postulate my theory. To be able to structurally involve others, especially persons able to contribute from specific (scientific) knowledge area’s and backgrounds, I need to write up the outlines of my ideas on collaborability. To get the conversation going I will first draft the theory on Collaborability. This study is a theory and can be therefore relatively concise.
Drafting the initial theory will be my first self-inflicted assignment! The second assignment is to go out and find people who want to collaborate on the work to unravel “collaborability” from multidisciplinary angles.
My theory on Collaborability will not be a description of a “grand design”. Nor will it be a moral assessment of what and where we are today or what one should do in a certain case. I am trying to unravel the various aspects that make us so successful as a species: the way we collaborate.
I will identify general ideas from various sciences – from economics, politics, sociology, technology in al of its facets, network dynamics, our biological and neurological constitution, philosophy and so on – and apply that to the world around us. If the theory is robust enough maybe we can apply these general ideas on history to see if the patterns have some extra-historical support. It is a question though if it can only be done on a limited scale, for special purposes, or that it can be done in a larger way so that the general course of history, at least in some important aspects, can be fitted into place.
Every model is as strong as its assumptions (and its underlying relations and reasoning) and let others be the ones to challenge them! As long as my model, annex theory, is better able to describe the related parts of reality then previous models I have reached my goal! Others can then contribute and ultimately build on the fabric of thoughts being initially postulated by me.
Every study needs boundaries, needs subjects and sub-subjects. I realise that having an insight, however clear and complex, is not the same as being able to have others undergo the same insight. This can only be done by using words – with all the limitations that brings with it. The words of John in Pirsig’s “Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance” are springing to mind: