When we look at our agreements through the social lens of how we Homo lumens interact, we find three very different, often-confused Co-s: coordination; cooperation; and collaboration.
Coordination comes from the Latin coordinare “to set in order, arrange,” from co– “with, together” + ordinatio “arrangement,” from ordo “row, rank, series, arrangement.” Cooperation comes from the Latin cooperationem (nominative cooperatio) “a working together,” from assimilated form of com “with, together” (see com-) + operari “to work”. Collaboration comes from the Latin collaborare “work with,” from assimilated form of com “with” (see com-) + laborare “to work”.
Coordination is about segregating, arranging separate pieces–it is only just about the parts. Cooperation is about flocking, working on one’s own together towards a similar goal. It is about the parts and their relatedness. Collaboration is about uniting, bringing together unique contributions towards a deeper shared purpose. It is about the parts and their relatedness and the whole. Parts coordination, parts-related cooperation, parts-related-in-whole collaboration–the 3 Co-s of parts-related-in-whole, the definition of a system.