Category Archives: Cooperation and Collaboration

GRATITUDE.NET: A novel approach to collaborative problem-solving

Collaborative problem-solving[Update: Unfortunately this online project has since folded. However, I leave the post as is, simply because it serves as an example of the suitability of the web as a tool for collaboration.]

Collaborative problem-solving is based on the notion that the collective wisdom of the group can yield ingeniously creative solutions to challenging dilemmas that individuals on their own have difficulty resolving. Mediation of course is one way to enable individuals and groups to team up together to solve problems. But there are other, equally creative ways to tap into that energy, and one web site seeks to do just that. offers people the opportunity to harness the power of collaborative problem-solving by creating a kind of reserve or pool of experience, wisdom, and insight. In the words of founder Tory Gattis, a social systems architect, the goal of is to become “the ‘eBay’ of kindness, wisdom, and goodwill” by “matching people’s life challenges and advice offerings”. As Gattis explains, is based on the following premise: What if the best solutions to life’s challenges could be drawn out of a large networked community and made available to all? Could that help accelerate people up the hierarchy and lead to a better world?

For further information on how to become a member of, please visit the web site.

TALK AROUND THE WATER COOLER: provides a forum for workplace issues provides forum for workplace beefsAnyone who’s ever earned a paycheck has stories to tell of their worst job or boss ever. (I certainly have a few of those myself. ) And a few lucky souls are able to boast about jobs they love and colleagues they enjoy working with. Job satisfaction is important to many of us, but it can certainly be elusive. gives employees a forum for letting it all hang out and sharing their reviews of the companies they work for. This web site allows visitors to search for companies by name or click on the list of top 10 best and worst companies to find out what people have to say about bosses, benefits, pay, working conditions, and other concerns.

A brief glance at the gripes posted about the 10 Worst Companies is most instructive for anyone who is interested in conflict as a phenomenon in the workplace. Poor communication and lack of respect are evident, and result in low employee morale, decreased productivity, absenteeism, and attrition. Many of these reviews are imbued with an embittered sense of “us versus them”.

Companies could learn some lessons here—a kind of “How Not To Succeed In Business”. Being proactive never hurts either—implementing conflict management systems, as well as providing training for h.r., managers and employees can make a difference.

Employers take note. (Especially my old manager Bob, who always stuck me on the closing shift on Saturday night.)