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The process of group working together and sharing knowledge to achieve shared or individual objectives. A generic term to describe teamwork or group effort.


Collaboration is the process of bring people together with different knowledge and skill sets to accomplish specific objects. It requires organization, teamwork and trust. The various knowledge and skills of team members can contribute to the overall success of the project.


Nuclear organizations are becoming increasingly involved in the development of strategic alliances that require the sharing of expert staff and their knowledge in networks. Such collaboration and partnership between institutes, government, universities and industry require a flexible approach and this process can be facilitated by the introduction of various KM tools and techniques. The overall benefits of this approach can be realized in terms of efficiency (cost) savings and reputation in adopting new and innovative solutions.

In knowledge management, collaboration is often used more generally to describe any close working relationships involving the sharing of knowledge. An example of collaboration in the nuclear industry is a cross-functional team.

Collaboration and benchmarking are effective ways to share knowledge, support continuous improvement, and identify best practices.

  • Collaboration is supported by the physical co-location of staff and electronic tools.
  • Coordination is supported by electronic workflow and project management.
  • Communication is supported by, for example, e-mail, discussion forums, micro-blogging, video-conferencing and webinars.
  • Cooperation is supported by, for example, digital whiteboards, annotation mechanisms or application sharing.

Arrangements and controls reflect the level of collaboration required and extent of knowledge sharing required. Extensive collaborative team working is maintained through human performance activities to align individual and group values and behaviours. Typically these focus on developing team leaders and communications that reinforce expectations for behavioural performance expectations.

Steps in developing a collaboration strategy

Appreciate all the different collaboration tools, methodologies and systems and in what circumstances to apply them.

A central team benchmarks, and has a thorough understanding of, best practice in collaboration tools, methodologies and systems. This is evaluated, and local coordinators are made aware of the range of tools available to them.

Appreciate the collaborative capabilities of the potential collaborators

Individuals self-evaluate their personal capabilities, and the effectiveness of support infrastructure, through reference to guidance provided by the central team. Training and direct support is available to collaborators.

Identify potential collaborators both internal and external

Subject matter experts in Communities of practice maintain a record of internal and external knowledge profiles of potential collaborators, and share these. Experiences with the quality of the knowledge are regularly updated in the profiles by the relevant communities of practice. The profiles are centrally coordinated and maintained."

Employ collaborative tools, method, methodologies and systems with the chosen collaborators to achieve organisational goals

There is a centrally coordinated and locally resourced plan. Well-defined, proven and tested tools, methodologies and systems are developed centrally and made available locally. They are under continuous development by a central team, that team that have an understanding for the demands for collaboration.

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Community of practice

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