Carbon, silicon and the bonds of collaboration


In chemistry, a valence electron is one that participates in the formation of chemical bonds between atoms. The presence of valence electrons determines whether an element may bond with other elements. Both carbon and silicon have an incredible ability to form chemical bonds because they can each give and receive four valence electrons. But since carbon is much lighter and more flexible, carbon bonds are easier to form and stronger.

Human beings are carbon-based lifeforms. Humans collaborating is the lifeblood of your organization. Technology can certainly help enable that collaboration, and since a lot of technology has integrated circuits made of silicon, we could say that silicon is a great enabler.

But just turning on enabling technologies doesn’t create the bonds of collaboration. These bonds are more human than technological. For these bonds, we need a great collaborator — we need carbon.

Collaboration is about turning Me into We and going from I’m great to We’re great. The people who can do this consistently understand that the difference between cooperative and competitive is what embodies the ethos of the collaborative culture needed for data governance.

In many ways, the consumerization of IT is helping tear down the wall between the business and IT, the historical divide where the denizens of IT seemed like an alien silicon-based species that could work with technology but not with the carbon-based species inhabiting the business world.

Nowadays, with a growing demand for business and IT to walk the road of collaboration together, successful data governance requires understanding not only the psychology of collaboration, but also the chemistry of collaboration. Carbon-based humans, enabled by silicon-based technology, form the strong, flexible and long-lasting bonds of collaboration.


About Author

Jim Harris

Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality (OCDQ)

Jim Harris is a recognized data quality thought leader with 25 years of enterprise data management industry experience. Jim is an independent consultant, speaker, and freelance writer. Jim is the Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality, an independent blog offering a vendor-neutral perspective on data quality and its related disciplines, including data governance, master data management, and business intelligence.

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