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Creativity, Collaboration & Culture - how embracing the 3 "C's" will transform any company - 2 of 3

Collaboration

In my previous post I discussed the value of creative people within an organisation and how they can be found in many different guises. By recognising and harnessing this skill set, employees will be more engaged and companies will become stronger and more competitive as a result.

12th collaborationIn this post I would like to explore the notion of the lone genius, the idea that creativity is 
something best completed alone. Undoubtedly there are some outstanding examples of highly creative people who conducted their works unaccompanied – Leanardo Di Vinci, Picasso, Mozart. However I would argue that this is the exception rather than the rule. I recently read an article on how historic creative figures spent their time – as if we could somehow ‘tap’ into this skill set by divulging their secrets. The truth is, most examples of exceptional creativity are a result of collaboration – a coming together of minds at a particular moment in time. It’s as simple as that. In fact I would argue that some of the most innovative modern day solutions are all based on the foundations of collaborative creativity – Facebook, open source, “mash ups”, Wikipedia. In the ever changing landscape of commerce it appears we are stronger together.

So what does this mean for my business?

This means encouraging employees to truly collaborate. It’s important to differentiate standard colleague interactions with true collaboration – the ‘just keeping you in the loop’ conversations are not what I am talking about. I mean encouraging people and providing them with the opportunity to unite with one purpose; to gain valuable insights that aid them toward the journey of achieving their goal. This includes getting team members to input on areas outside of their day to day roles, as long as the intention is to benefit the company at large.

Enviro-October-12The next most obvious way is our surroundings. A working environment needs to encourage interactions or more importantly, ensure there are no physical barriers. A radical solution is to eliminate departments all together and integrate individuals from all areas of the business or simpler, more practical solutions include chairs with wheels, a communal kitchen or breakout area whereby employees will naturally and spontaneously congregate. Google do this brilliantly with a high tech coffee machine that takes at least 5 minutes (and a PHD) to operate – this is very deliberate and encourages colleagues to catch up in the process.

So, the next time you’re at work, look at your physical surroundings. Do they encourage collaboration? What simple, relatively low cost solutions can be put in place to further improve this? A communal area to have lunch? A spruce up of the kitchen area? Or simply rearranging the office slightly? All these things can have a huge impact on the way in which a company integrates.

In my final post I will be talking about the final but arguably most important ‘C’ – Culture.

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