While the notion of a lone inventor creating a world-changing product is ingrained in the popular culture, the reality is most of the world’s great innovations have been the result of collaboration. Humans are social animals, and as such, they tend to do their best work when they can bounce ideas off the brains of others.
For most of recorded history, however, the efforts required to make it happen often meant some who could add value to a meeting were left out.
That is now changing as collaboration moves from being planned to being pervasive – thanks to new technologies that ensure people can connect wherever they are, whenever they’re available and with whomever needs to be engaged in the conversation.
It is all part of the so-called “collaboration economy,” which recognizes that to be effective and competitive, organizations must focus on their core strengths and competencies allowing internal and external resources to communicate more effectively in order to help the organization become high-performing.
Barriers to collaboration
So why are organizations having so much difficulty adapting to the collaboration economy? There are three key barriers:
One reason many of these issues arise is that communications network management is outside many organizations’ core competencies. To save money or maintain internal control, they end up degrading collaboration and communications, which makes it more difficult to attract and keep top talent, impeding their ability to compete.
Given these demands, companies are realizing the need for a pervasive collaboration platform that enables high-performance work and dynamic interactions. Among the dimensions of such a platform are:
Their goal should be to facilitate the flow of ideas across boundaries, geographies and time. Total value equations should account for the vast, ongoing returns associated with purposeful meetings and interactions among knowledge workers. The payoffs for doing it right are counted in terms of productivity gains and profitability growth.
Unleash the collective power
While the idea of the solo contributor doing amazing things has a certain romantic appeal, it doesn’t reflect reality. As the pace of business continues to increase, organizations cannot afford to allow work to happen in silos or believe collaboration adheres to a schedule.
With today’s communications platforms, it is possible to collaborate easily with anyone, anywhere, anytime. In doing so, organizations can capitalize on the vast array of possible interactions that emerge in a collaborative economy, and unleash their collective power.
Rob Bellmar is Senior Vice President of Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall, a subsidiary of West Corporation and the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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