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Thomas Edison's Keys To Managing Team Collaboration | Fast Company

Posted on by Brandon Klein

ESTABLISH CAPACITY

SET CONTEXT

MAINTAIN COHERENCE

MANAGE COMPLEXITY

But now, it is critical. Throughout history, collaboration has followed the same pattern: Someone speaks, others listen, then someone else speaks, and so forth. From the nobles of ancient Greece to the boardrooms of today, this pattern is repeated. But it can change, and it should. Rather than this system where information trickles one-by-one, we can now use technology to put collaboration on the acceleration track.

Take Twitter, for example. One short message, with a hashtag, can engage thousands of people, often simultaneously, to discuss a topic. Dialogues are upgraded to “metalogues”, in which thousands (even millions) of people engage together to learn and create.

We know that virtual teams of thinkers and doers are already part of today’s workplace. According to Forrester Research, 40% of employees are already involved in some type of virtual team, and their research shows that number will grow to 56% in just three years. Looking ahead, we know that by the year 2025, Generation Y workers will make up 75% of the workforce. Because they’ve grown up with technology and are comfortable using it, supporting it, creating it, and improving it, they will demand a workplace with mobile connectivity and rapid virtual collaboration. They will continue to demand more freedom over their time, activities, and budgets. Workplaces and companies take heed--those that are slow to respond to this demand will falter. Today, only 7% of Gen Y-ers polled on Facebook report working for a Fortune 500 company, since historically those companies do not provide collaboration freedom.

Thus, Caldicott writes, a new form of collaboration is emerging: “Like a giant pulsing brain, a new kind of collective intelligence will become possible by the end of the decade, redefining how knowledge networks operate and how microcosms of people drive value-creating activity across vast geographies as well as entire organizations.”