I remember my boss dictating a memo to his secretary back in the last millennium (I think it was the 80′s). In that memo were some innovative ideas and new approaches to his business. She typed it, using a manual typewriter and carbon paper, and then later, it was sent out on a state of the art business machine from the future: a facsimile machine (gasp!).
Pretty archaic, right? But it would be easy to argue that innovation is handled in similar archaic ways today. Not archaic due to technology, but archaic due to the lack of collaboration. Where were the other key stakeholders in that meeting that created the innovative idea? Where were those that would champion and carry out the innovation? Was it ready for publishing yet? How do you innovate and communicate today?
Today, for individual and organizational success, it is critical to share information and expertise in a collaborative effort. And this is not just about harnessing the collective knowledge of the office. Or the knowledge and expertise of key stakeholders.
To be truly collaborative, you have to jump the fence. You have to engage a community comprised of managers, employees, customers, vendors, partners and anyone else that can accelerate innovation. Now that may be a scary proposition for many. Many successful organizations think they have a secret formula to success (ok, Coke and KY Fried Chicken may have a secret formula). But here’s a secret – it’s all out there on the web already!
Sharing key information and data is the only way to propagate innovation, and through collaboration, not only is the process accelerated, but your organization and those you want to effect are more highly engaged by the process. With new communication channels available via internet, chat rooms, social networking, web conferencing, instant messaging and texting, the speed at which we can collaborate has become blinding. And for the first time in our history, widespread collaboration is now possible.
Schools are now embracing texting and discussion boards as a way to engage more students in discussions. In your business, how will you engage more people to create innovation through sustained collaboration? Ready to jump the fence?