Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 3 months you would have noticed that the word ‘collaboration’ has been buzzing around at record highs. We have seen the largest, rapid, workforce shift in recent times, which has resulted in an unprecedented growth in demand for tools to help people connect and work from anywhere. However, the word collaboration is often used when, in most cases, the simple, old-fashioned ‘working together’ or ‘cooperating’ would do just fine.

Does collaboration need a new language? This is a question I find myself pondering every time I notice a surge of this ‘buzzword’. Collaboration is more proactive and can be far less prescriptive than the daily co-operation expected in workplaces. Most jobs clearly identify what people are supposed to do, ensuring that cooperation occurs as expected. Sharing information with colleagues as part of a job description does not make it a collaboration. Going above and beyond in sharing knowledge, information, insights, ideas etc is getting much closer to what collaboration may look like in the workplace. Collaboration is about motivation, behaviour and culture. This means that no matter how much we make it easy for people to collaborate by providing cool tech tools, this will not translate into the type of collaboration that comes only from a person’s attitude and commitment to collaborative culture. In fact, the latest COVID 19 triggered a need for collaboration technology which may in fact have a negative impact on healthy collaboration and cause burnout, as one of this edition’s recommended readings explains.


Collaboration technology is breeding burnout – keep it real

Although communication and collaboration platforms have been around for years in various forms, their adoption has inevitably gone through the roof since Covid-19 lockdowns were implemented around the world.

On the one hand, many employers had little choice but to turn to such technology as, in many instances, their entire workforce was forced to work from home overnight. This meant a way of replacing site-based interaction was required for businesses to continue functioning.

On the other hand, says Lee Evans, head of pre-sales at technology distributor Westcon, the fact that, unlike the systems of old, this software is now affordable, cloud-based and easy for users to adopt, meant that organisations moved to it in droves simply “because they could”.

This situation has seen the number of daily users of collaboration platform Microsoft Teams, for example, jump from 20 million in January this year to 44 million in March. The number of individuals using Zoom for video and audio meetings, meanwhile, has leapt from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million four months later…READ ON


Collaboration Is at an All-Time High

I think, going forward, people are realizing how much they can accomplish remotely. For some, the task may take two or three times longer, but as we continue to work remotely, I think it will eventually get easier.

I definitely see remote operations continuing for the future. Radio does not need a lot of space to function. The key to radio’s success as a medium has always been based on our ability to adapt. This pandemic has only emphasized that feature. We can be nimble, figure out solutions on the fly, work on shoestring budgets, develop our own work-around solutions, and the audience has no idea (for the most part) of what it actually took to make the broadcast happen.

Radio is also able to socially distance successfully. For some local stations, the on-air talents have been reduced from a full roster of talent to one or two people working on air for a few hours each day, and then people outside the city track the remainder of the schedule. This is not a new idea; this has been happening in broadcasting for decades…READ ON


Collaboration Spaces: Are They Working?

Until very recently, collaboration was one of the most widely used buzzwords for maximizing organizational performance and productivity. Of course, collaboration is still happening in a COVID world through various online tools. But since this concept has become, and will most likely remain, such a fundamental aspect of the work environment going forward, effectively planning for collaboration spaces now will pay off later…READ ON


Has COVID-19 accelerated funding collaboration?

There is a lot at stake for jobs-focused social enterprises in this crisis. The jobs they create offer more than an income. They provide a sense of belonging, a support network, and a range of services to individuals who are often excluded from mainstream employment.

To help these critical businesses survive and thrive so they can continue to provide this much needed support to disadvantaged Australians, funders are uncovering ways to collaborate more efficiently, unlocking greater opportunities for long-term impact.

When the pandemic first hit, Jess Moore, CEO of Community Resources, received a call from Lisa Waldron from Westpac Foundation, a long-time supporter of the national not-for-profit organisation that runs three social enterprises, including Australia’s largest mattress recycler, Soft Landing…READ ON


A unique collaboration explores the future of our oceans

ocean collab

Future Seas is an innovative, interdisciplinary project imagining a better, more sustainable future for our oceans.

Healthy oceans are essential for us all. They play a vital role in regulating the world’s climate, and provide food, jobs, clean air, and unique cultural connections. Unfortunately, the oceans are under threat. But scientists are rising to the challenge with a coordinated effort to protect this invaluable resource.

More than 100 researchers from CSIRO and the University of Tasmania – spanning a diverse spread of disciplines that includes climate science, psychology, ecology, philosophy, economics, engineering and law – have recently been working on a collaborative project to address key issues from the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Led by a team from the Centre for Marine Socioecology (CMS), the Future Seas 2030 project invited researchers to gather for a series of one- and two-day workshops, as well as a week-long workshop that included Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Holders from around the world…READ ON


Collaboration is the name of the game

The sudden and forced shift to remote working has served as an impetus for firms to transform their operations. Primarily, it has enabled the rise of more collaborative working methods, some of which will hopefully be embedded in future ways of working.

“Keeping staff engaged is the main challenge firms are facing,” George Ralph (pictured), managing director at RFA explains. In terms of communication and collaboration, video calling via systems like Microsoft Teams and Zoom has increased. The face to face contact such tools provide is important. “It really does help businesses stay connected… With tools like Microsoft Teams in place, I don’t think that communication and collaboration have to be compromised, just because everyone is working remotely…READ ON