It seems obvious once said. Return on coordination = teamwork?
It's amazing how many people ask me for "the original reference."
Is there an original reference for 2+2=4? Why does anyone accept it otherwise? :(
Anyone who's ever learned coordinating customs such as "stay to the right" appreciates the cost of coordination, and the consequences if they can't. Humans even do that natually - given adequate feedback. Return on coordination is the consequence of investing in that cost. Achieving that insanely great return is what drives all social species.
"It seems odd but it's true that often the most obvious things are the most difficult for people to see. Imagine showing fish what "water" is and explaining to them how it works. They may have an implicit sense of water but they have no explicit knowledge or understanding of it. Translating the implicit to the explicit so that they can see and understand as you do is your job as a writer!"
True. So how do you explain air to 6 year olds?
There are many quick tricks, like asking them to blow on the back of their hand, or sneeze, or yell, etc, etc. I try to remember such methods and lessons when talking with economists.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a shared sensori-motor experience is worth a million, and a shared cultural experience a billion words ... or more.
Obviously, written text is still a paltry medium compared to the full bandwidth of face-to-face communication, and even less useful as a replacement for full group experience & feedback, let alone the distributed motivation that follows actual development of group affinity. The more people you know well enough to care about, the less stuff falls through the cracks of a culture.
With growing group numbers, it's unpredictable what few patterns of shared signals will produce optimal group agility in given situations. Efficient messaging is discovered only with group practice, which is one reason why unemployment kills economies. Lack of group practice costs more than all other imagined costs. It's a failure to invest in the cost of coordination, and it precludes any return on coordination. Stupid, of course, since that's always the greatest return of all, by far.
So, how does one explain return on coordination to economists? :)
Please list your tricks and suggestions in the comments.
Example: Ask a group of orthodox economists to huff and puff at the same time, and blow an unemployment form off a table (when any amount of hot air from one alone won't suffice).