Part of my inquiry into collaborability is a quest to find the right vocabulary to use. It is not only using the right words but also to link them with clear definitions and notions. In an earlier post I stressed the importance to zoom in on the words used in my daily role as a business consultant, the same applies here.

Early on, for instance, I used the term “Scalability” to address the domain I am investigating, even though I knew already this was not comprehensive enough at the very start. I used it for the lack of a better word. “Scalability” is referring to the changing reach and the changing amount of effort to reach others. This leads to both being able to reach more “nodes” more easily (i.e. increasing scale) as well as it allows smaller entities to compete with bigger ones (i.e. inclusion and lowering economic thresholds). Scalability is a core notion to Collaborability but is to limited to capture the breath of ideas and concepts/mechanisms involved.

As I continued to uncover more of the relevant aspects involved and their interdependence I found that it all boiled down to our “abilities to collaborate” which also has an effect on scalability as a sub aspect. The non-tangible “social capital” that we have created to allow us to collaborate I dubbed for the lack of a better word “collaborability”. Actually I fancied the word “Internality” the most, as this is literally the exact opposite of “Externality”. In the model the domain I am trying to find the right term for conceptually IS the opposite of Externalities.

But the term “Internality” is already used in behavioural economics to describe those types of behaviours that impose costs on a person in the long-run that are not taken into account when making decisions in the present. I a sense this is just a special form of externality, only not directed to third parties but to the actor himself. (NB An “externality” is a cost or benefit which results from an activity or transaction and which affects an otherwise uninvolved party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit. Via Wikipedia)

While I am pretty comfortable to use the term “Collaborability model” to describe all aspects covered in my inquiry I keep on being hesitant to use “collaborability” as a sub part of that model. Maybe I should just use “Internality” and use it based on my own definition?