There’s a term we could all use more often: ‘collaboratory’- a tiny change on the word ‘collaborator’ to emphasise what can happen when team members get together to create experiments built on collaboration. What happens is innovation, developments and fun. It is fitting that this new term is a little whimsical.
Collaboration is a major source of innovation. After all, didn’t James Watson and Francis Crick work together to understand the structure of a DNA molecule? Wasn’t it the Wright brothers who gave us the aeroplane? Wasn’t Google started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin? In fact it doesn’t take much research into innovation to discover the importance of collaboration for generating ideas, sustaining energy and momentum, development, refining and distribution.
Collaboratories seem to me to be an essential element of any business’s innovation system going forward – the future of work is after all about ‘adapt or die’, and one of the best sources of innovation is collaboration. How else do we make the most of collaboration if not through the essential skills of teamwork: trust, healthy debate, commitment, accountability and focus?
Healthy functioning teams are ripe for collaboration – if you have one, turn your thoughts to whether you’re making the most of your team’s innovation potential.