Friday, January 14, 2005

Trust and Respect

These two values seem to be the most important criteria for developing an innovation commons or elearning environment that flourishes because believing that others in the blog or commons will enable me to share my thoughts and to heed the advice or feedback offered. How can we replicate the rapid, intuitive judgements we make in an in-person, collaborative setting via the faceless, impersonal internet. On the one hand, saying exactly what you think can be easier in a setting where you don't know all of the participants and may never meet face-to-face; however, revealing your idea in the first place and then trusting and respecting the feedback obtained is likely difficult when we don't know the players involved. Without consciously knowing it, most of us rely quite heavily on our "gut" to tell us whether or not to trust someone with our most important thoughts and ideas and whether or not to listen to and act upon the advice of different individuals.

Some possible solutions to help bridge the lack of face-to-face meetings could include some phone or call-in sessions, as hearing different peoples' voices can be a powerful help in determining a level of comfort in sharing information with the group. Also, numerous organizations make the profiles of their members available to all participants. Requiring photos, answers to a variety of questions that give you a sense of the personality and experience of the members, and so on could provide participants with knowledge about who the person is behind the name at the bottom of the posting or email.