Buzzword: Collaboration – Growing a Culture of Collaboration and Innovation

“If management doesn’t model collaboration, it won’t work among the rest of the staff. The puzzled look of the man in the illustration represents a failure to understand that space planning and technology are effective only within the context of a flexible and adaptive organizational culture of transparency, respect, trust and teamwork.” Taken from CoCreate by Teknion

Corporate culture can be defined as “the way we do things around here.” Taking this a step further, it is also the collective and on-going behavior of the people who make up the company, as well as the emotional connection your clients and partners feel toward your organization. As such, there is a much more “human” aspect to companies. This is driven by the desire of the rising workforce (Millennials) to have a social connection to their workplace and colleagues. Workers can no longer be thought of as biological databases or thinking machines. They are creatures of emotion and intent who seek meaning and connection as well as self-worth through work, knowledge, and achievement.

So what does all this “touchy, feely” stuff have to with collaboration? Pretty much everything. Without socially satisfying interactions and a connection to the company, the motivation to perform falls off; collaboration and the creative process are greatly inhibited. An organization who wants to promote creativity and innovation will encourage collaboration through their company culture and work environment.

Questions to consider:
Is the boss available only by appointment?
Is coffee with a co-worker or working in a comfortable lounge chair considered down time?
After a workday at home, do employees hear “So, what was on ESPN?”
Are all meetings formal meetings that are booked in a conference room?

If the answer is yes to most of these questions, and you are interested in fostering a collaborative environment, it might be time to start thinking about what you can do to update your company culture to promote creativity and innovation.