Collaborate to Compete – Robert K. Logan and Louis W. Stokes   Leave a comment

Book Description

Publication Date: July 11, 2003
Knowledge has become the new source of wealth, and the co-creation and sharing of knowledge through collaboration, the key to the success of today’s organization. Collaboration is everyone’s business and every business’s concern. Unfortunately, the mindset of most business people is not one of cooperation, but of competition.Collaborate to Compete, offers a practical, applied approach to fostering a spirit of cooperation not just within an organization, but also with suppliers, customers, and even competitors to gain a competitive advantage.

Many knowledge management initiatives and approaches have failed in their attempt to harness and share the knowledge resident in organizations because they focus on technology, systems, and the valuation of intellectual property, but often neglect the human side. Collaborate to Compete goes beyond the traditional technological approaches of knowledge management systems to address the human challenges, as well as the psychological, cultural, and organizational barriers to employees, suppliers, and customers actually using these systems.

Collaborate to Compete:

  • Shows how to create an atmosphere of trust, teamwork and collaboration and the promotion of emotional intelligence.
  • Offers practical tools, processes and exercises that are helpful in developing a culture of collaboration.
  • Introduces a unique assessment instrument, the Collaboration Quotient, that measures the readiness of individuals and of their organization to collaborate. It is also used to monitor the organization’s progress in developing collaboration.
  • Provides a detailed design for a practical and effective Internet-based knowledge network that facilitates knowledge sharing and co-creation.
  • Includes comprehensive coverage on: how to transform a command-and-control organization into a collaborative one; how to measure, maintain, and increase collaboration; how to identify and eliminate the systems and processes that hinder collaboration; how to reward and encourage collaboration; and much more.
  • Features examples and case studies that provide a blueprint for implementation, including organizations such as Documentum, Hill & Knowlton, Intel, Northrop Grumman, Open Text, Siemens, Turner Construction, Vignette and others.

KnowledgeC2C   Leave a comment

Who We Are


Professor Robert K. Logan, PhD.

President and Chief Academic Officer


Academic Experience

Bob Logan has extensive experience as an academic involved in research and teaching in complexity theory, information theory, knowledge networks, linguistics, industrial design, media studies, environmental studies and biology.

He has been a physics professor at the University of Toronto since 1968 and is now Professor Emeritus. He is currently the Chief Scientist of the Strategic Innovation Lab at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Origins Institute at McMaster University and at the Institute of Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary.

He published and collaborated with Marshall McLuhan. Bob has been active in politics since 1974.  Among his many activities, he served as an advisor to PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, policy chair of the Ontario wing of the federal Liberal Party and an advisor to various federal cabinet ministers. He is also an author or editor of 11 books listed below and many articles in refereed journals.

Business Experience

In addition to his academic activities, Bob has had an active business career. This includes founding and operating a number of companies from 1982 to 2000 including a computer training centre (Logan Design Systems Ltd.), a desktop publishing operation (Desktop Training Centre), a Web development company specializing in knowledge management (Gutenberg Internet Services Inc.) and a Web-based portal company (PM Rentals Ltd.).

Consultations included Siemens, Intel, Aetna, The Life Insurance Marketing Research Association, Nortel, Tycho Electronics, Standard Life, Electronic Corporation of Israel, Government of Canada (Ministry of Communications, Ministry of National Defense, Science Council and Ministry of State for Science and Technology), Government of Ontario (Ministry of Education) and many others.

Bob co-developed the Gutenberg Knowledge Network which is described in detail below.


Professor Robert K. Logan (cont.)




What is Information?

Forthcoming with DEMO Books

The Poetry of Physics and the Physics of Poetry

Singapore: World Scientific Pub. 2010

Understanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan

New York: Peter Lang. 2010.

The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind and Culture

University of Toronto Press. 2007.

The Alphabet Effect. Hampton Press 2004.

(1st edition 1986. New York: Wm. Morrow)

The Sixth Language: Learning a Living in the Internet Age.

Blackburn Press 2004.

(1st edition 2000. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing; Mandarin Edition ISBN 986-7964-05-5).

Collaborate to Compete: Driving Profitability in the Knowledge Economy

Co-authored with Louis W. Stokes. 2004. Wiley. (Mandarin Edition ISBN 7-5080-3669-7).

The Way Ahead for Canada

(Edited) Lester and Orpen. 1977.

Canada’s Third Option.

(Edited with Steven.D. Berkowitz) MacMillan Canada. 1978.

The Future of the Library: An Old Figure in a New Ground

With Marshall McLuhan. 1980. Canada National Library Archives (This book which was commissioned by Bowker Publications went unpublished but a new edition is in preparation with Eric McLuhan and Kathy Kawasaki in which the original manuscript plus a update of the original manuscript will be published together).


Robert S. Coatsworth, MBA

Chief Executive Officer

Strategic Development Experience

Rob has over 20 years experience in developing and implementing profitable growth strategies for clients in a wide variety of industries. This frequently involves hands-on, interim senior management roles.

With a background of senior finance, marketing and operational roles, together with strategic planning and governance expertise and board director experience, Rob has a broad background and depth of experience that represents a valuable perspective for clients.

This enables him to improve business process and organizational effectiveness, sharpen value propositions and reach the right markets.

Rob has worked with start-up as well as mature, primarily private sector organizations in electricity distribution, software technology, retail automotive, financial services, media, medical laboratory, book publishing, and hospitality.

His consultations have included: strategic development planning and implementation; finance and marketing-based initiatives to support acquisitions, expansions and new market entry; product development; customer retention; and regulatory interface.

In the academic area, Rob has done work for Queen’s School of Business, Royal Roads University and Rotman School of Management as an Executive MBA student advisor and as a consultant to businesses seeking the universities’ assistance. In these capacities he has mentored MBA students, acted as MBA student Project Advisor, coached CEOs and facilitated conference seminars.

Recent Electricity Sector Consultation

We provide ongoing strategic advisory and project management services to electrical utilities centered on: succession management planning; knowledge capture and transfer; and supporting skills development in an industry that has an enormous current and future skills shortage.

To date we have done risk assessments for two utilities in Ontario and are developing an assessment template with the objective of creating a succession management toolkit that utilities can use and maintain themselves in the future.

What Do We Do?

KnowledgeC2C is in the business of providing strategic as well as hands-on, implementation support to businesses with impending work force turnover that are facing the challenge of knowledge succession where there is potential for knowledge collapse if nothing is done.

Our services range from:

  • half-day or day long Workshops to provide an overview of knowledge management and succession techniques together with tools to take back to the business to begin the process;
  • to Risk Assessments that are a foundation for implementing comprehensive, facilitated knowledge succession programs;
  • through to the creation of Knowledge Networks that allow full collaboration within and among larger organizations.

KnowledgeC2C Workshops   

The workshops are designed to provide executives and managers with a basic grounding in knowledge succession management.  These interactive sessions put attendees to work to think about the issues within their own organizations and develop a work plan with the tools to begin to implement the lessons they have learned in the workshop.

The key is to identify what critical knowledge and competencies your organization currently has, and will need to have, to continue to be successful; and where the knowledge and competencies reside within the organization or where they will come from.

The workshops focus on techniques to capture and share this knowledge. Documenting procedures, job sharing, job rotation and implementing mentoring programs are a few of the techniques discussed as well as ways to overcome resistance from staff who already feel overloaded or are reluctant to share what they know.




KnowledgeC2C Risk Assessment Framework


The Risk Assessment framework is a comprehensive review that is the foundation for implementing a comprehensive, facilitated, knowledge succession program in your organization.

The review normally follows these steps:

  1. Review of strategic organizational objectives with Board and CEO.
  2. Assessment of the maturity of the organization: governance model; organizational structure; HR policies; organizational alignment around strategic objectives.
  3. Meetings with as many personnel as possible from Senior Management to front line staff to listen to their issues, understand how the organization really works and understand the real culture.
  4. Exploratory Workshops with key groups of employees to assess areas of vulnerability and begin to build an understanding of knowledge concepts and how and where knowledge succession occurs and why it is important.
  5. Summary of Findings and assessment of options presented back to Board and CEO (and internal champions as appropriate).
  6. Recommendations and Next Steps: proposed implementation plan with strategic and tactical solutions.

Our deliverables are designed to bring focus in two areas:

  1. Priorities and recommendations to resolve current gaps or weaknesses in functions and processes that have arisen as a result of staff who have left or retired; and
  2. Upcoming succession issues and recommended steps to avoid new gaps or weaknesses. This is about getting the right people talking. It is not intended tocreate an encyclopedia of everything that  everyone knows; rather keeping track of the people who ‘know the recipe’ and nurture the technology and culture that will get them talking. Techniques would include:
  • Use of ‘before, during and after’ learning.
  • Creating opportunities for collaboration across organizations for mentoring and to learn best practices and processes.
  • Considering use of external support resources.
  • “What do you do? How do you do it? What do you need to know? Is there someone in line to take it over?”



KnowledgeC2C Knowledge Networks

A Knowledge Network is an intranet-based system that can capture and preserve all of the tacit and explicit knowledge in an organization or, where internet-based, across an entire industry and facilitate knowledge transfer by coding, organizing, developing, sharing, disseminating, conserving and reusing this knowledge. The explicit knowledge is stored within the text on the intranet. In addition the Knowledge Network provides a guide or directory of where a user may tap into tacit knowledge within the organization by directing the user to members of the organization with the requisite experience so as to be mentored, coached or advised by those members. A knowledge network tool is of particular benefit where users are spread across multiple locations.

Knowledge C2C uses a knowledge network tool that was designed for Siemens AG and used world-wide throughout their organization. The tool, the Gutenberg Knowledge Network (GKN) was developed by Robert Logan at Gutenberg Internet Services in the late 90s. The sharing system would now include wikis, blogs and other forms of social media not available at the time of the development of the GKN. It is illustrated below.

The GKN consists of three main systems:

1.Sharing – provides a forum for developing, sharing and floating new ideas.

2.Instructional – provides learning and support.

3.Measurement – serves as a tool to control quality and as a medium to publicize the accomplishments of all members of the organization.

The Instructional and Sharing systems are obviously essential elements of collaborative knowledge management as they are essential for the acquisition of new knowledge and the sharing of existing knowledge. The Sharing system also functions as a platform for the co-creation of new knowledge. The role of the Measurement system is also an important component as the measurement and publication of certain key parameters will motivate individuals to be more collaborative.

A knowledge network is an ideal medium for dynamic teaming. It facilitates the development and cultivation of the intangible assets of intellectual capital and in particular the way in which human, structural and external intangible assets can be coherently marshaled to achieve organizational objectives. It provides a medium for capturing group memory, which is the essence of organizational knowledge. The organization’s capacity to recall its past events, actions and results and to apply them to a new situation saves both time and money, as valuable lessons do not have to be relearned. The culture of an organization is not just its social and business practices but also its organizational knowledge.

A collaborative knowledge network is always a work in progress in that it is never finished, and that certainly is the case with the GKN. The GKN design should meet the basic collaboration and knowledge management needs of most organizations. But there is no such thing as a generic organization. Each one is unique and each one has its own particular collaboration and knowledge management needs. The GKN should therefore be considered as a basic system to which specialized modules can be added. The GKN has a modular design, making it easy to snap in new modules as needed.

The GKN is an architected system, not a software product. Building a knowledge network is an iterative process, and an initial knowledge network like GKN is an appropriate way to begin the process. In order to do this, two forms of action are required:

  1. Explicitly formulating the organization’s goals around knowledge creation within the context of an initiative to build a knowledge network; and
  1. The development and implementation of a knowledge sharing and co-creation architecture making use of tools already available in the market or customizing them as required for the organization’s specific needs.

There are many benefits to creating a collaborative knowledge network.

Knowledge Management benefits:

•       Create an inventory of the current knowledge base of the organization,

•       Develop an understanding of the knowledge creation and sharing processes of the organization,

•       Identify areas where new knowledge is needed,

•       Document and archive organizational learning and experience,

•       Build understanding of the total knowledge resources of the organization (including external stakeholders, such as customers and suppliers), through information gathered in a case based forum,

•       Offer insights into the firm’s organizational thinking and behavior,

•       Promote organizational and individual commitment to lifelong learning and growth and evolution into an organic learning organization and knowledge community,

•       Nurture improvement and revitalization of interactions and communication within the enterprise,

•       Provide a reading on the organization’s ability to adapt to change, create new ideas and access the wealth of knowledge inside the organization and in the marketplace, and

•       Develop greater sensitivity to the changing dynamic of the marketplace and a more proactive response to those changes.

Online Training benefits:

•       Reduce costs and inefficiencies associated with traditional computer-based and/or classroom training,

•       Deliver uniform training and learning,

•       Integrate readily with other training delivery methods,

•       Allow easy, ongoing update/revision of courses and information,

•       Support integration and alignment of organizational activities,

•       Promote peer learning and interactions,

•       Promote coaching and mentoring

•       Create performance support systems for individual employees, and

•       Provide support and help to all employees.

The implementation of a collaborative knowledge network is just one element in developing an overall strategy in building a collaborative organization. A tool like GKN will not, by itself, create a collaborative organization. The human side of the equation in which attention is paid to vision, trust and leadership are at the heart of a collaborative organization.

Strategic Planning Includes Succession Planning   Leave a comment

Top 10 rules for strategic planning:
1. Clearly and simply articulate your shareholders’ long term goals.
2. Identify short and medium terms objectives to get there.
3. Communicate these goals and objectives to the organization so that all activity is aligned with the objectives and the organization is engaged.
4. Identify the milestones that show the organization that these objectives are being met.
5. Identify the key risks and threats that can get in the way of meeting these objectives and how to mitigate these risks and threats.
6. Identify the resources and core competencies needed to achieve these objectives.
7. Ensure that these resources and competencies are present.
8. Ensure that there is appropriate back up for these resources and competencies. Plan for succession and knowledge retention.
9. Lead from the top and let mistakes happen.
10. Unleash your organization’s potential.

Great panel discussion on promoting a new web business   Leave a comment

Panel discussion at MaRS Fall 2010. 1 hour+ but good content!

Check out all the MaRS material at

Posted December 9, 2010 by Robert Coatsworth in Business Strategy

Getting started!   Leave a comment

Just getting started here.  Lots going on with some fascinating and diverse projects underway.  My role is helping to get top level strategies worked out and implemented. Yes, I am very hands on to get things done.

Most important always is getting the story right and expressed in simple terms. This makes it easy for all stakeholders to understand the business and it means that it can be communicated clearly in 10-15 seconds.  

I once coached the CEO of an early stage tech company on a VC presentation. His power point was so technical that I could not understand the underlying business proposition. We worked on that and turned it around to present the market problem and his solution. The tech stuff was only facilitating the solution – once he understood this he could easily explain his business model.  He was awarded Best Presentation at the show.

For me, it is all about asking questions and getting my clients to reveal the real value that they bring to their customers. Then we can restate their value proposition with clarity and precision.

Posted December 9, 2010 by Robert Coatsworth in Business Strategy