Good things can get even better, despite what our cultural norms sometimes tell us. Not meaning to sound flippant when implying that even when things are challenging they are good as they give rise to opportunity, but there’s something in it. What is meant by ‘good news everyone’ is that collaboration is now serious and something that industry can no longer ignore.
Take for example architecture. Online magazine Fast Company recently spoke to a group of the top 10 most innovative architecture firms, such as Rockwell Group which has taken modular homes to another level of luxury, or Svigals and Partners for their work on designing schools that are a really different experience from traditional models. These companies were asked about the future trends that are shaping the industry. And guess what; collaboration is one of them. The part that I like the most about this is the clear understanding of collaboration being a practice that brings interdisciplinary working to a new level. Collaboration in architecture will mean more than two architects working together. It will also mean that there will be a good role for, as they argue, ‘social anthropologists and environmental scientists’.
But it is not only architects that are reimaging, rethinking and realigning. As you may have seen on ROADMENDER recently, McKinsey and Co have reported an increase in joint ventures across industries. In fact, almost 70% of surveyed companies expect an increase in activity in the areas of joint ventures. It is not too hard to imagine then why serious businesses are now employing full time chief collaboration officers and are responding to the fact that collaboration between companies (regardless of size and type) is a whole new ball game.
Collaboration is now also one of the major growth areas in the ICT sector. Reliance on tools and technologies that allow remote work to be more effective is a bottom line expectation. More importantly, consumer interaction is now in part built on the ability to collaborate. Flogging stuff to consumers assuming it will last is no longer an option: creating an experience which has your product at its core is the expectation.
The education sector has already started to feel the pressures of new ways of learning. Take for instance CSCL (Computer Supported Collaborative Learning), which is not new as a pedagogical method but it is becoming quite a different experience when ‘computer supported’ does not only mean the internet. In fact, when the idea of collaborative learning first emerged clouds were white and fluffy and the only mouse one could use had a cord attached. The opportunities for new ways of collaborating, not only in a business sense but also in the way people acquire value such as future knowledge, means that fewer and fewer people will be willing to invest five years for a degree qualification only to find that the world has since moved on.
And along with many other options for applied collaboration, there are major challenges such as safety and security of our cities, resilient communities, better health for growing numbers of people globally etc. All those challenges have now been dealt with using collaboration as a strategy. So, when all is said and done, it really is a good news for everyone. Collaboration needs everyone. Everyone has something to offer and collaboration can be a defining feature of how the new marketplace operates.