The opening quote implies that we are somehow connected, that we are prepared to interact, and that we have something worth exchanging. Since the 2000s there has been an explosion in the growth of personal connectivity through ICT enabled social networking, e.g., in the use of Facebook, and knowledge sharing, e.g., as in the diversity of topics covered in Wikipedia entries. The extent and attributes of interactions between social actors may be mapped using social network analysis methodologies to identify underlying social network structures—who is connected to whom and why. Social networks are seen to be one element of social capital that an enterprise or community may draw on, and we outline this concept. Social networks represent the digital reflection of what humans do: we connect and share. The emergence of what is known as the collaborative economy or the sharing economy is exemplified by enterprises such as Airbnb. We see comparable practices in the evolution of the open source software development community, where work gets done to pursue a common goal consistent with protocols that have evolved over time.
As has been directly or indirectly identified in other chapters of this book, the design and operation of complex systems of systems requires both the cooperation of people and/or organizations and access to resources that may not be owned by a particular enterprise. This may be addressed by simply buying what is needed where it is readily available. However, if access to what is needed is restricted, or if what is needed is not yet readily available, one solution is to establish collaborative working arrangements. Collaboration may be facilitated by the use of particular protocols and tools, and we discuss what these might look like from a number of viewpoints.