Collaboration’s what ya need!

Posted on June 21, 2011

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If Roy Castle were still alive today then I’m sure he’d rewrite his famous song to reflect the word ‘Collaboration’ rather than dedication. Now, if you’re under 40 then it’s possible that you’ll have no idea what that reference is to – so google it. Or watch this!

Anyhow, it seems to me collaboration is the way forward, but that’s easier said than done. Unless of course you are built that way. Colleagues of mine at The Team have just built spritecow. If you’re not a designer of things digital then it’ll be absolutely useless to you. But, the point is, it’s a free tool, and they’ve built in their spare time to aid design. To top it all they’ve popped it up on the web for free. Saves everyone time.

Now old world thinking would say, “hang on, that’s useful IP. Don’t give that away, you’re making life easier for our competitors.” New world thinking sort of scratches its head and looks at the old world and says “!” (well to be honest it can’t be bothered to answer.)

This new world attitude is so important. You see, I think there are so many problems requiring solutions in the world, that it’s the people that are seen to be wanting to solve and share that will be the people that customers and clients naturally pick up the phone to. The old world that keeps its cards to its chest is in for a bit of a shock.

There used to be a mythological phrase used about McKinsey that Intellectual Honesty was everything. It suggested that if the firm was honest with clients, that if it shared everything that it thought with them, then that intellectual truth would hold them in good stead. As a group of people they certainly have the brain power to believe this to be correct. Being that honest meant they’d share truthful information, because they new clients would always come back to them as they, McKinsey, had the brain power to know what to do with the very insights they were sharing. That’s what they were dedicated to: sharing intellectual honest insights.

But perhaps, like Roy, if they were using this phrase now they’d shift it to collaboration so that experts from other fields could help them help client do more. You see today, it’s not just sharing the information that counts, it’s being seen to work freely with others. Failure to collaborate and you’re not part of the team.

It’s also good for the soul at work too. As my colleague @philhawksworth puts it, “We do however try our best make time for exploring new technologies and working on little side projects to scratch our various itches. I’m a big believer in the value of down time for discovering new techniques, learning new technologies and simply just making something that we really, really want.” Despite his protestations, I do see him itch a lot.

So, as the brilliant Mr Castle once sang, “If you wanna be the best, If you wanna beat the rest” then co-llab-or-ation’s what you need.

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