In this guest post, CEO of The Impossible Institute, Dan Gregory (main photo), says if you’re lost for inspiration then two heads – even 100 heads – are always better than one…
The implementation of effective collaboration leading the generation of results has been well documented, but there is one example that comes to mind – this is Ferrari’s Formula One Racing Team working with London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in the UK.
Their cross-sector collaboration enabled the hospital to streamline the transfer of patients from the operating theatre to intensive care after surgery. Much like Formula One racing, the medical field is a sector where many things can go wrong, with the most catastrophic being death. Following high rates of mortality at the hospital in the 1990s, doctors recognised that the period after surgery was the most critical of the entire process.
After a particularly bad day at the hospital, the team in charge of the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit sat down in front of a television that was playing a motor racing grand prix. They recognised the similarities between the handover after operations and the actions of Ferrari’s pit crew.
However, unlike the hospital, Ferrari executed the procedure with ease. The hospital called in the British driving team, Mclaren, who explained the intricacies of pit stop maneuvers and in return, the hospital showed them diagrams of how they undertook their post-surgery handovers. As a result, Ferrari suggested ways to improve it, which were quickly adopted by the hospital and solved a critical issue that they were unable to do so themselves. This is a perfect example of how collaboration can unlock potential in any sector.
Coming from a creative background, I understand the challenges involved in achieving collaboration across your team. Hence, I’ve laid out my five tips to enable small businesses to successfully collaborate to formulate unique and engaging ideas.
Create “WE” Spaces
Employees must feel comfortable and relaxed for effective collaboration, so it is necessary to create the right environment, away from the faster pace of the office. The need to create separate spaces for meetings and brainstorming will allow employees to focus on the task at hand, without distractions. Collaboration increases employee engagement and encourages ideas, so the creation of these “WE” spaces, either physical or digital, will ensure employees can think freely and creatively.
Make information accessible
Great ideas cannot be executed if they’re locked in your head or on your device, so it is vital to make useful, relevant information accessible to everyone in the team. By sharing information, problems can be solved and ideas can be formulated collaboratively, and cross-team work looks and feels consistent. You just might have the answer to a problem that one your co-workers has been trying to solve, but if you don’t communicate as a team, you’ll never know.
Allow for analogue
Keep your ideas unpolished and unfinished so that other team members can contribute and build on your ideas in such a way that doesn’t feel like criticism. Every individual has certain areas that they excel in, and a specific skill set. By sharing your ideas even when you are still in the drafting process, you can invite others to build and develop your idea in a way that you wouldn’t have thought of. By sharing work regularly for feedback, tips and advice can be incorporated along the way. These discussions can be had formally, digitally, or even as a casual conversation in the office kitchen.
Generate tangible output
Imagine how productive a brainstorming session at a firm will be when multiple participants can write, add images and annotate together – all this and more can be done with next generation engaging methods such as Samsung’s FL!P, an interactive digital flip chart that enables teams to collaborate and work together efficiently. You can draw on it, bring up files to discuss, generate actionable ideas, end a meeting with tangible outputs and keep your team updated by sharing meeting actions and checking in on these frequently. Conducting meetings in such collaborative manner ensures that everyone on the team is aware of their roles and responsibilities, deadlines of tasks, and fair division of work.
Make the ideas shareable (and editable)
Allow team members who were not even in the meeting to also contribute and to bring to life the ideas you create together. When you keep the whole team up to date on the projects that are being worked on in the office – you never know who might have a great idea to contribute. If ideas are circulated throughout the workplace, more people can think over it and share their opinion on ways of improvement. And as the saying goes, two heads are better than one, so why not involve 100 more heads?