I’ve got a piece up for work on the nature of information sharing challenges, not dissimilar from some of the themes I’ve discussed here in the past. So, in the name of shameless self-promotion, here’s an outtake:
The language of better communication has come to take on an almost dogmatic character. Particularly within official circles the terms: coordinate, cooperate, collaborate, partnership, interagency, need to share, etc. are regularly invoked. Where the limitations of rigid hierarchies have been exposed, the calls to engage horizontally across lines of authority have been raised. Resources and expertise need not be consolidated in one place (a single agency or funding stream) if they can at least be made accessible to the range of participants in a common endeavor, yet this does not take into account a variety of sources of institutional inertia that make information sharing a much more challenging exercise in practice than theory. Why is it that, despite considerable attention and effort, effective information management and information sharing remains elusive?
The responsibility for getting information management right should not fall only on those parts of the organization already taxed by making the best of confusing, dangerous, and rapidly shifting conditions. There are fundamental questions that must be asked about the assumptions that have gone into building organizational processes and the technology architecture choices that have followed them. This is not about theorizing the endless possibilities of the open Web, but about recognizing the limitations of idealized institutional designs, then scaffolding processes and capabilities to the realities of complex environments in the context of the digital information economy.
The full text can be found here.