How is your company applying collaboration, or teamwork, or collective creative process to the daily operation?
We normally have meetings for this: brainstorming, co-working, all sort of ad hoc or weekly, monthly, yearly etc. It’s permeate from board-level decision making close-door meeting to the open-space employee office, where they do their day-to-day, regardless of whatever job they have.
Collaboration can be both a cure and a curse to obtaining organizational effectiveness, specifically solving demanding problems.
As research showed, working together can be good for finding out unique information, for example: everybody tries and think of ways to generate revenues for the newly introduced product. You’ll get a bunch of different ideas from individuals, or “the clustered network”, as they would not try to copy each other, as the goal is to come up with various ways.
However, when it comes to the part of interpreting the conclusions from information, interesting things happen: social proof. If someone comes up with the solution, and more people agree to it, I might as well adopt that – everyone think it’s true, it must be true.
From brainstorming to decision making, collaboration helps along the way, but not all the time.
Normally, the way we come to make a decision requires a bit of time, reflection, evaluation of different criteria and scenarios; gathering evidence, data we don’t currently have at hands – and obviously this process needs full attention and focus in order to be effective. Shortcut like social proof, pressures, or just in the context of meetings just won’t make the cut.
In fact, in the working world right now, with all the technology and constant connectivity, we are only able to focus for 3 minutes at a time. And I don’t think this is enough to produce anything meaningful (probably just enough to scan and tweet out an article)
Meetings are good for finding out unique information and finalizing or making decisions after all the works are done. Lots of issues require more than one individual capability to be solved.
We should work together of course. But just like one doesn’t wear heels to run long distance, collaborate selectively.