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PhD Is Done! (almost)

I got my examination reports back for my PhD thesis, Stigmergic Collaboration: A theoretical framework for mass collaboration, and the prognosis is good! Both of my extraordinarily esteemed examiners, Howard Rheingold and Francis Heylighen, have recommended that I be awarded my doctorate without further amendment. I am ecstatic and honored to have received such positive reviews from two of my personal heroes of original thought and research.

In the coming weeks I will be reviving my Stigmergic Collaboration blog, mirroring the content on this site as well (in the ‘Research’ category). I’m thinking of doing a blog series on my thesis – breaking it into more bite size chunks with links into the larger work. However I need to give this a bit more thought first. In the mean time, please feel free to peruse the online version of my thesis here:

– The (almost) in the title is due to the fact that I still need to submit bound hard copies to the university, and well, I still have the formal ceremony before I can legitimately prefix my name with the good ole ‘Dr’ :-).

2 Comments

  • Reply

    mark

    June 3, 2008

    <em>[originally posted by Tony Maimo replied 2 weeks, 4 days after the incident]</em>Question on CollaborationI am an architecture student in my final year and I am also working on my thesis. My thesis addresses this issue of collaboration and interdisciplinary education. Well question is, Why use the word "collaboration"? instead of interaction or cooperation or teamwork?

  • Reply

    mark

    June 3, 2008

    MarkElliott replied 1 month, 1 day after the incidentWhy ‘collaboration’?I struggled with this question myself and came to the conclusion that collaboration is an often misused word, but one which does have specific meaning that distinguishes it from other terms such as cooperation, teamwork, coordination, interaction etc.Basically, what I found in my etymological evaluation of the term, is that collaboration is collective activity which incorporates collective creativity. This can be seen in the term’s etymology as well as its usage in artistic/creative contexts. Things get more murky in its application (esp in business contexts etc.) when it is appropriated as a ‘buzzword’, as well as in more generalised contexts where the term is applied to collective creative endeavours where the the participants are complicit to a set of procedures.I set out a framework for distinguishing between coordination, cooperation & collaboration which sees collaboration as a problem solving strategy that employs ‘divergent production’, as opposed to cooperation which utilises ‘convergent production’. Divergent production is nonlinear and relates to creative attempts to discover more than one possibility to a problem domain (creative arts, design etc) where as convergent production is a linear process that seeks one ‘true’ answer (‘hard’ science, mathematics. logic etc).Thus collective endeavours which must engage in divergent production and thus collaboration cannot defer to a set of procedures (such as ‘collaborative bookmarking’ [a misnomer in my mind], executing an employment position etc) while endeavours that can defer to such a set of procedures I deem as ‘cooperative’.Your question is certainly the right one in my mind – as there is currently no <a href="http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/General_theory_of_collaboration&quot; rel="nofollow">’general theory of collaboration'</a> and most dictionary definition fail to provide adequate distinction between other collective activities – we must decide whether collaboration is actually a distinct, unique process. I believe it is…Hopefully this summary helps – its a big topic to be sure! mark …

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