Collaboration is simple, but the rules have changed forever

In one respect, there is nothing new about the idea of collaboration. Humans have been collaborating with one another for many thousands of years. It’s part of our mental DNA – and a key driver of our development.

Even so, almost all of us would admit that that we miss many opportunities every single day to collaborate more closely in the way we work and learn from one another.

  • If we work on a project we learn from it, but do we instinctively share the knowledge we have with others?
  • We talk to another person who has knowledge we could benefit from, but could another colleague be gaining from it at the same time?
  • We go to conferences and hear great speakers, but how good are we at passing on their knowledge beyond those already in the room?
  • And even if we are fortunate to work and learn in highly collaborative teams, do our sharing instincts extend to those outside our own organisational tribe?

We all “do” collaboration, but we all want to do it better. In organisations, we work and learn in restrictive bubbles around ourselves or our immediate teams. Knowledge is clearly valuable for those inside the bubble – and it could be invaluable for others in the organisation. The alternative is something we all see every day – a wasteful duplication of effort in the course of building knowledge.

Until very recently, the desire for greater collaboration within organisations was no more than a good intention, often stated but seldom realised. But something important has changed. The impact of technology – and the radical redesign of the workplace that it has driven – has moved the term “collaboration” to the front of the stage.

We are moving into an era of full-on collaboration in the workplace where the rhetoric of yesterday potentially becomes the reality of today. Technology means that collaboration has never been easier. And our new joint Merriborn and 10Eighty paper – “Surfing the Collaboration Wave” – will show that a resulting deeper and broader sense of collaboration can help organisations move on from good intentions to positive actions. And in the process it will lead them to:-

  1. A far more effective blueprint for organisational learning;
  2. A positive step change in employee engagement levels; and
  3. Greatly increased levels of productivity.

Many HR & L&D professionals now see the opportunity for collaborative learning but need help to exploit it. When it comes to accelerating the development of collaborative working and learning in their organisation, it is clear that they want to understand more and make the case for action. So we have joined forces to help decision makers to understand the transformative impact that a culture of collaboration can bring.

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