Review from Oscar Berg’s Book “Collaborating in a Social Era”: Empower People, Embrace New Cultural Principles & Cultivate Actively Change!

Oscar-BergIn the preparation for our i2 SUMMIT I was granted access to a version of Oscar Berg’s new book “Collaborating in a Social Era“. Oscar is a long term fellow of our #e20s (now #entdigi) community and an expert in the matter of collaboration – therefore I was more than excited about what he had put together.

In a word – the book gives a very good and comprehensive overview on the challenges of today’s working environment, explains how a better collaboration can help to advance the organizational development and gives some interesting tools and conceptional models on how to design better collaboration by digital enablement. While he always points out that technology is not the savior and that collaboration is about people, he also concludes that “social technology” is a key enabler for a collaboration setting at scale.

And the end of his book he has put his recommended formula in one sentence:

Social technology can empower people to work smarter together, to climb the collaboration pyramid, and collaborate naturally across organizational and geographical silos. But it will not happen unless the formal and informal leaders within the organization adopt social technology and actively work to change the communication culture of their organization – embracing the principles of openness, transparency, participation, dialog, and recognition.

For the “how” part of the book Oscar provides some nice conceptional tools and framework in order to design a performant collaboration setting:

  1. The Knowledge Work Capability Framework as a framework to develop the collaborative capabilities
  2. The Collaboration Pyramid as a measure to evaluate the personal collaboration style
  3. Five Principles as basic values for a collaborative culture

For our i2 SUMMIT blog we have interviewed Oscar about his book, his views and his talk in Zurich. From this interview I like to cite particulary his answers to the question on how his idea of the “Collaboration Pyramid” can play a key role in the digital enablement of the workforce:

I think the model can play an important role in helping individuals understand what is required to enable digital transformation of work. Digital transformation is not about technology. It is about people. It is about empowering employees work together to serve the organization’s customers. People must be empowered to make the most of their potential, both as individuals and as a collective. An important part is to give them access to easy technology that helps them extend and leverage their social capabilities. The Collaboration Pyramid shows how these social capabilities are still constrained by physical proximity and organizational structures. If we don’t put social technology to effective use in our organizations, a lot of employees don’t get the chance to become visible, share, get recognized and build their social networks beyond their organizational group and the location where they usually work. When they don’t, communication and collaboration doesn’t happen naturally across groups and locations. As a result, innovation, organizational agility and productivity will suffer.

Read the full interview at:


Therefore I can fully recommend the reading of this comprehensive book on how to design collaboration for the social and digital era.