We all know that the best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why doctors have 5 year residencies and mechanics and plumbers have appreticeships – you need practical experience to recognize symptoms, identify the problem and act accordingly. The same is true for learning to manage group dynamics, promote innovation and practice culturally preffered leadership skills. You need to experience the situations and practice your response to get it right.
Simulated experiential learning has long been in practice for medical, military and business training but is a relatively new initiative in organizational development training. However, group simulation activities can lead to efficiency, effectiveness, and risk reduction in the workplace let alone the potential to garner new skill sets.
We have all sat through the endless slide shows and overly simplified dramatizations commonly used in ‘culture change’, ‘leadership’ and ‘how to be innovative’ workshops – none of which allow learners the opportunity to practice the principles and skills in real life situations. Simulations use real life parameters but often with an element of competition to keep groups engaged and ensure optimal performance. Rather than heading back to the office with a set of principles, the participants leave having experienced implementation of the principles with opportunity to learn from their mistakes in a risk-free virtual environment.
If you want to check out one of the leading organizations in the production of workplace simulations ExperiencePoint covers topics ranging from practicing social resposibility, customer service practices to leading innovation.
“Collaboration curves hold the potential to mobilize larger and more diverse groups of participants to innovate and create new value”
~ John Hagel III, Harvard Business Review
We have all heard of the experience curve and the effects it has on reducing costs and time while increasing accuracy in product and service development- it’s logical. However, the inherent flaw in the experience curve model for business is that once you reach a certain level of expertise the costs, time and accuracy continue to improve only marginally until a new innovation is introduced. And it is with the collaboration curve that the innovation increases.
“We’re seeing the emergence of a new kind of learning curve as we scale connectivity and learning , rather than scaling efficiency”
The more participants you have working on a design or project and the more interactions between those participants in a carefully designed collaborative environment, the more the rate of performance improvement goes up. Essentially, because with continued collaboration comes continuous ideas that translate into continuous innovation. It eradicates the lull in performance improvement that occurs in the experince curve model.
Take Apple for example. They are experienceing a seemingly never ending cycle of expansion through the applications for their devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod etc.) The reason of course is that they crowdsource. Apple doesn’t think of the hundreds of application ideas and advertise them, they merely offer the platform and software neccessary for their users to develop apps based on their own ideas – and because of it the App Store is massive and Apple continues to gain revenue, reputation and offer continuously evolving product.
So I urge you to consider how you are applying the Collaboration Curve learning cycle in your organization?
The heart of what knowledge workers do on the job is collaborate, which in general means they interact to solve problems, serve customers, engage with partners, and nurture new ideas in sectors ranging from scientific research to line level problem solving. In some sectors knowledge workers can account for up to 75% of the workforce, but we still don’t have adequate metrics to improve its efficiency and minimize the ‘wasted’ time inherent to knowledge work.
The recent influx of both commercial and open source collaborative technology solutions when used by knowledge workers has the potential to improve efficiency and add an element of quantitative metrics to measure success in an industry that has to this point been subjective. There is potential for sizeable gains from even modest improvements of access to web 2.0 tools such as social networks, wikis, and video conferencing. Both Cisco Systems and Procter and Gamble have employed this strategy with their international enterprise sales teams and have seen a significant improvement in productivity.
Now comes the important part - in order to be really effective leaders must consider the behavioral and structural requirements of their industry first by understanding the capabilities their own knowledge workers need to increase their productivity, and not tailor their processes to accomodate the capabilities new technologies provide. This may mean that out of the box solutions are not appropriate for your organization and require customization. Like any other product or service; not all collaborations are created equal!
Click on the image to check out McKinsey & Companies interactive tool to assess what collaborative tools are most appropriate for each class of worker!
(Using technology to improve workforce collaboration, James Manyika, Kara Sprague and Lareina Yee, 27 October 2009)
As a pioneer and leader in the field of less invasive medicine I have spent over four decades working across many medical disciplines trying to overcome the biases inherent in clinical medicine and disruptive change. Out of this process a number of innovative collaboration technology tools and strategies have emerged.
My passion for continuing to research how collective intelligence can give way to collective capability that brings about significant change inspired me to purchase The Kingbridge Centre as a laboratory and resource for pursuing this effort. My vision for this centre is to create a neutral place where leaders from diverse sectors with different backgrounds can mutually explore effective experiences as well as doing post mortems on unsuccessful ones.
I believe the most significant advances in healthcare will require collaborations between business, government, non-government organizations and academia to improve individual and collective efforts for evolving health systems nationally and globally.
I would like to begin to build a community of collaborative minded professionals by hosting/sponsoring a few interactive forums at Kingbridge this year. If you are interested in being a part of these forums and have a past successful or unsuccessful collaboration experience to share please contact me either through a comment on this forum or at email@example.com.
I found this very interesting graphic on another techie blogger’s site and immediately realized that despite Apple’s success with their interactive and multi-functional i-Phones and i-Pods that take advantage of user generated apps the company still hasn’t fully grasped WHY these were sucessful.
The success of their technology is in the user interaction with and contribution to not only the applications but the function of the product. Single function, designer prescribed useage just isn’t going to cut it in the new world of user defined products! If we already have a touchscreen smart phone that can hold our schedule, store pictures, take pictures, play movies stored on micro SD cards, stream video, read our e-mail to us, choose view mode, play games and pretty much everything all our other electronics can do all in one convenient package………….what would we want with a basic handheld touchscreen tablet that does none of those things but costs twice as much?
Maybe Apple should have asked us??
The Google search engine organizes its webpage information based on user visits to sites resulting from keyword searches.
Google crowd sources their map data using applications that allow users to submit data as well as correct it in both Google maps and Google earth.
They also apply to concept of crowdsourcing to many of their user applications such as Google moderator, Google translate and Google traffic.
With Google basing their success on harnessing the wisdom of the collective to produce superior web applications one has to wonder:
Why didn’t Google use crowdsourcing to design their new android phone: Nexus One?
The hype surrounding the release of the Nexus One promised a revolutionary smart phone, a clear step above Apple Inc.’s i-Phone. What was released however was an underwhelming, slightly improved (in some respects and not others) version of the existing android smart phone.
How does it compare to the i-Phone?
“Coming up with ways in which the iPhone 3GS maintains a formidable lead over the N1 is a cakewalk. The iPhone OS’s interface is less cluttered. There are not only five times more iPhone apps (100,000+ vs. 20,000) but the best ones, such as Tweetie, may be five times better than their Android equivalents. Google doesn’t even seem to be trying to catch up with the iPhone’s entertainment features: Android lets you copy music from a PC but not sync it, and has no provisions for buying or renting video. Bottom line: The iPhone is (still) a more highly evolved, refined device.”
Harry McCracken, Technologizer
Perhaps, Google should have stuck with what works:
User designed product!
Over the last month we have explored cultivating collaborative leadership by developing individual CQ (Cultural Intelligence – What’s your CQ & Cultural Intelligence – Raise your CQ). Now we will take a look at developing your organizations CQ in order to cultivate a collaborative enterprise culture.
To offer a summary of the interactive session, Stacey suggests that cultivating a collaborative enterprise culture requires that as a leader you must:
1. Pay attention to the culture of your enterprise at every phase of it’s development
2. Develop your individual leadership capacity
3. Develop CQ through leadership DAC
Direction: each individual knows the
goals and aims of the collective.
Alignment: coordination of knowledge
and work in the collective.
Commitment: willingness of
individuals to expend effort towards the
needs of the collective.
DAC is directly proportional to CQ, that is to say it is a scale where an organization’s DAC can be anywhere on the spectrum between high and low and generally the higher your organizations DAC the higher its CQ. Therefore, since higher CQ is an indicator of collaborative culture where you sit on that spectrum defines the type of enterprise culture you have.
Where is your organization on this spectrum?