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Which clippings match 'Problem Finding' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 APRIL 2012

Cooperation and collaboration: problem solving and problem finding

"The economists Richard Lester and Michael Piore have studied the firms that sought to create the switching technology, finding that cooperation and collaboration within certain companies allowed them to make headway on the switching technology problem, whereas internal competition at other corporations diminished engineers' efforts to improve the quality of the switches. Motorola, a success story, developed what it called a 'technology shelf,' created by a small group of engineers, on which were placed possible technical solutions that other teams might use in the future; rather than trying to solve the problem outright, it developed tools whose immediate value was not clear. Nokia grappled with the problem in another collaborative way, creating an open–ended conversation among its engineers in which salespeople and designers were often included. The boundaries among business units in Nokia were deliberately ambiguous, because more than technical information was needed to get a feeling for the problem; lateral thinking was required. Lester and Piore describe the process of communication this entailed as 'fluid, context–dependent, undetermined.'[20]

By contrast, companies like Ericsson proceeded with more seeming clarity and discipline, dividing the problem into its parts. The birth of the new switch was intended to occur through 'the exchange of information' among offices 'rather than the cultivation of an interpretative community.'[21] Rigidly organized, Ericsson fell away. It did eventually solve the switching technology problem, but with greater difficulty; different offices protected their turf. In any organization, individuals or teams that compete and are rewarded for doing better than others will hoard information. In technology firms, hoarding information particularly disables good work.

The corporations that succeeded through cooperation shared with the Linux community that experimental mark of technological craftsmanship, the intimate, fluid join between problem solving and problem finding. Within the framework of competition, by contrast, clear standards of achievement and closure are needed to measure performance and to dole out rewards.

[20] Richard K. Lester and Michael J. Piore, Innovation, the Missing Dimension (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004), 98.

[21] Ibid., 104."

(Richard Sennett, 2008, pp.32–33)

1). Sennett, R. (2008). "The Craftsman". New Haven & London, Yale University Press.


2008boundaries • business units • clarity and discipline • closurecollaborationcommunicationcommunication processcompetitioncompetitive teams • context-dependent communication • cooperationcooperation and collaborationcorporationscraftsmanship • deliberately ambiguous • designers • dividing problems into parts • dole out rewards • engagementengineers • fluid communication • framework of competition • hoarding information • information exchangeinformation in context • internal competition • interpretative community • lateral thinkingLinux • Linux community • measure performance • Michael Piore • MotorolaNokia • open-ended conversation • participationperformanceperformativityproblem findingproblem solving and problem findingproblem-solvingreward • Richard Lester • Richard SennettsalespeopleshareSony Ericssonstandards of achievementsuccess • switching technology • technical information • technical solutions • technological craftsmanship • technology shelf • The Craftsman • undetermined communication • working methods


Simon Perkins
22 APRIL 2012

Richard Sennett: The Architecture of Cooperation

"The theme of the lecture addresses a question: how can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? To explore this question, I'll draw on research in the social sciences about cooperation, based on my book, and relate this research to current issues in urban design."

(Harvard Graduate School of Design, 28 February 2012)



2012Adam Smithagency of access and engagement • architecture of cooperation • autonomybelongingbordersboundariescity • city living • civic engagementclosed systemcooperationcraftwork • declarative forms of expression • declarative mode • designed spaces • deskilling • dialogicdialoguedifferent strata of society • edge condition • edgesempathyencounters between peopleengagementforms of expressionforms of human cooperation • fruitful cooperation • Harvard Graduate School of Design • Harvard Universityhegelian dialectic • kinds of skills • La Marqueta • large cities • lectureMikhail Bakhtin • mode of domination • non-placeopen-endedparticipationpowerproblem findingRichard Sennettsocial constructionismsocial exchangesocial interactionsocial issuessocial relationssocietyspace of ambiguitystranger • subjunctive forms of expression • sympathy • unclosed system • urban centreurban design


Simon Perkins

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