How to prioritise collaboration over teamwork

If you want to truly foster a culture of innovation, collaborative processes are your best friends. According to a January 2015 Forbes article, which cited research from the University of Tennessee in the US, innovation happens through collaboration, and organisations are increasingly turning to employees, suppliers, and competitors for creative breakthroughs. However, companies often focus too heavily on teamwork without learning how to harness collective strengths. Here are three foolproof ways to make collaboration a religion.

Encourage alliances between teams Traditionally, a company’s strongest working relationships unfold within various departments rather than across the business at large. But the biggest innovations are often the product of radically different skill sets and competing perspectives. To tap into this phenomenon:

  • schedule brainstorming sessions and hack-a-thons that feature members of different teams;
  • encourage your staff members to get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; and
  • create a supportive and creative environment that encourages and nurtures new ideas.

Having different parts of your business to work together often means leading by example.

Embrace tools and technology to drive collaboration

The rise of apps and virtual platforms can eliminate barriers and make collaboration a breeze. Adopting shared calendars, apps such as Trello and Basecamp, and instant-messaging software can make it easier for your employees to share knowledge and connect.

Create incentives for collaborative working

It’s important to create clear measures that encourage your team members and suppliers to work towards a common goal. With this in mind:

  • assign projects that call for contributions from different parts of your organisation;
  • attach KPIs and incentives to collaborative outcomes; and
  • cultivate a working culture that invites staff members to question conventional wisdom and spearhead new ways to get things done.

Making collaborative working a priority can set the stage for an innovative mindset.

Back to the top of this page