Major collaborative business networks programme launched

Ecolead is a major European applied research project on collaborative networked organisations (CNOs)

Ecolead (European Collaborative Networked Organisations Leadership Initiative) looks like it could be one of the most important strategic research projects in the virtual collaboration area in Europe and beyond over the next 4 years.

It is, what the EU calls, an “Integrated Project” - a major industrial applied research project supported by the Sixth Framework Programme and running over a 4-year period.

All work is undertaken collaboratively – in this case with 20 partners in 14 countries who represent a broad mix of practitioners, users and research institutes.

The programme's bold ambitions are summed up by Roberto Santoro, Ecolead Contact Manager:

“If we succeed we will change the way business is done in Europe and beyond – there will need to be new EU directives to support this radically new organisational form – the CNO (collaborative networked organisation)”

The Ecolead work programme centres around three main areas:

  1. VBE – how to develop effective “Virtual Breeding Environments” for Networks and Professional Communities

  2. DVO - "Dynamic Virtual Organisations" to support collaboration of enterprises and organisations

  3. PVC - the new emerging form of the "Professional Virtual Community" to support collaboration of professional individuals

The area of collaborative research into collaboration is a very difficult area with a chequered track record however a number of things may differentiate Ecolead from what has happened before including:

  • Trying to address the fundamental issues of collaboration (such as how it differs from cooperation) which most have so far dodged
  • Recognising the importance of individuals in networks as well as enterprises
  • Building on a strong foundation of past work and not starting from scratch again
  • Realising that networks need to be bred and cultivated – they need to be pro-actively prepared for collaboration
  • Adopting an open collaborative approach themselves by looking for multipliers and involving real business networks in pilots

If Ecolead can manage to maintain its focus and not get sidetracked then it might just produce some very valuable results.

If you would like to find out more about Ecolead visit the programme web-site

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