These days, you don’t have to look far for proof that collaboration can lead to great things. Industries from hospitality to transportation are increasingly led by companies built on collaborative models, creating a ‘sharing economy’ that is estimated to be worth over US$300 billion by 2025. Studies show a clear link between the adoption of collaborative work practices and exceptional business performance.
Beyond any impacts on the bottom line, there’s a lot of evidence that humans are social animals by nature, and that collaboration makes us feel good. A survey by co-working operator (and noted collaboration champion) WeWork, for example, found the happiest and most productive employees tend to be those that regularly team up with people both outside and within the office.
So collaboration is certainly worthwhile - but it isn’t always easy to make it happen. Simply encouraging people to communicate, or sticking them in a room together, doesn’t always work - in fact, some studies have shown efforts to make environments more ‘collaborative’ have had precisely the opposite effect. Even built-for-purpose collaboration tools sometimes end up denting productivity and sowing confusion.
When the rewards for collaboration can be so substantial, it’s important to get it right. In this issue of Perspectives we explore how to cultivate the kind of collaboration that takes root as a mindset, delivering business value and innovation from the ground up - or, should we say, from the individual out.
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