Collaboration in motion – CIMS

If you want to look at an example of geninue collaboration you couldn’t find a better example of what’s happening under the working title of the Community Information Management Project (CIMS).

I attended a presentation yesterday where the CIMS project was introduced to a wide cross section of community organsiation reps. At the end of the meeting, even as a newcomer to the project development process, I could have helped write up some of the potential benefits of the project. Anyone with an interest in supporting the project is invited to join in and contribute time or cash.

To me this level of collaboration goes much further than what is strictly required under the Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund, to which an expression of interest has been made and accepted for CIMS. It belies a philosophical commitment to working together and working openly. This is a real strength of the the community and voluntary sector when it’s working at it’s best.

The basic idea behind CIMS is “a shared workspace such as CIMS allows organisations to host their communications networks (discussion lists, sending of electronic newsletters and magazines) through a shared ICT platform”. The main priority seems to be using email, but this just a starting point. At an early stage techies will be asked to propose ideas of what’s possible within a platform.

Training and ongoing support is expected to sit alongside provision of the technical infrastructure. As with the e-Rider project (and numerous others) finding a way of covering costs once grant funding runs out is also part of the project.

There seems to be an increasing thirst amongst community organisations to use the Internet more powerfully. Whether the priority is saving time through smarter administration, expanding their reach to new people or other reasons, using ICT is seen as being worth investing time and effort in. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of CIMS is that it is being driven by the community organisation leaders, not being imposed by experts or well-meaning bureaucrats.

Regardless of the funding application outcome, the fact that groups are coallescing around a shared project will build a strong platform for future initiatives and discussion.