From time to time businesses conduct strategic audits to ensure they are better aligned for growth or simply, and probably more often, they merely respond to disruption and challenges. Increasingly there is a focus on collaboration, or lack of it as is the most often the case. No industry is immune to this challenge. Even the very promising trends such as Blockchain seem to encounter a lack of collaboration among industries. There are lessons to be learnt here. One is that collaboration is no longer really optional. It is fast becoming a mandatory practice because as a business strategy it delivers solutions very few enterprises can afford to create otherwise.  This month’s edition of selected reading indicates how creative businesses are embracing collaboration.


How a unique industry collaboration is bottling a new future for U.S. glass recycling


collaboration to the rescue “Amazingly, up to half the glass collected in single-stream recycling is unsalvageable mainly due to contamination.”

New Belgium Brewing’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is the same every year. It’s not the ingredients it uses to make its beer or the trucks that distribute its product. It’s the glass bottles.

Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental responsibility for New Belgium Brewing, wanted to reduce her company’s emissions from glass but also recognized that the company only sells about 0.5 percent of all beer sold in the United States. Because she couldn’t incite large-scale change solely by changing New Belgium’s own practices, she decided to talk with leaders of other companies and of non-profits that have a stake in glass recycling. She figured that together they may be able to help generate ideas to address the issue. What’s more, if this group adopted the practices together, it could increase glass recycling and decrease emissions from glass in a significant way.

Around the same time Wallace began her search for collaborators, Roberta Barbieri, formerly the global environment director at Diageo and today the vice president of global sustainability at PepsiCo, was challenged to address the lack of recycled content in Diageo’s glass bottles…READ ON


Collaborative Agile Activities Reduce Silos and Align Perspectives

If you’re working in an Agile environment, you already know that it’s not easy for UX and there is a lot to get done in a short amount of time. Sometimes, you may be lucky enough to have multiple UX professionals on your team, but other times you’re flying solo. If you find yourself dreading your UX to-do list, consider bringing other members of your development team into your design process. Doing so not only will lighten your workload, but it will also introduce multiple perspectives and ease further collaboration processes (for example, if you need signoff from other departments).

In this article, I discuss three go-to collaborative activities I like to use with Agile teams to brainstorm design ideas: 6-up 1-up, whiteboard session, and telephone….READ ON


How interoperability accelerates IoT collaboration

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the last decade has been unprecedented for both consumers and businesses alike. We have all experienced some degree of digital connectivity through smart home appliances, security devices, wearables, and connected cars. Companies too, from large enterprises to small businesses, embrace this technology, but have been slow in adopting IoT due to the complexity of collaboration required to connect multiple devices and services….READ ON


Problem-solving techniques take on new twist

ore than a decade after the introduction of the first smartphone, we are awash in always-on technologies — email, instant messaging, social media, Slack, Yammer, and so on. All that connectivity means we are constantly sharing ideas, knowledge, thinking, and answers. Surely that “wisdom of the crowd” is good for problem-solving at work, right?

Not so fast. New research by Harvard Business School (HBS) Associate Professor Ethan Bernstein and colleagues, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Aug. 13, suggests that “always on” may not always be effective. Instead, “intermittently on” might be better for complex problem-solving.

Bernstein, Assistant Professor Jesse Shore of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, and Professor David Lazer of Northeastern University put together and studied a number of three-person groups performing a complex problem-solving task. The members of one set of groups never interacted with…READ ON


Yamaha in-house collaboration makes music from vehicle parts

A few years ago, designers from Yamaha’s music wing and motor arm switched departments for a while – the instrument designers tasked with creating motorcycles, and the moto designers challenged to come up with musical instruments. For the company’s &Y project, engineers from both have collaborated on concept models, the latest being a music device made of vehicle parts….READ ON


Blockchain in Europe: Lack of industry collaboration a major problem

Europe is being somewhat conservative when assessing the significance of blockchain. A new report from Cognizant, ‘Blockchain in Europe: Closing the Strategy Gap’ highlights that, while there are breakthrough ideas on how the tech could solve some of the most pressing problems in business and society today, there are challenges turning those ideas into reality.

It surveyed over 1,500 European business decision makers across the banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and insurance industries. There seems to be a reluctance to collaborate with other businesses, meaning it may take longer than necessary to make blockchain mainstream. The vast majority of European firms intend to develop their own modelling techniques, with only 2% planning to join a consortium of startups and competitors….READ ON