Collaboration!

To me, this seems like another one of those buzz words that gets thrown around a lot these days.

But what does it really mean? And how is collaboration supported in the workplace?

This week, the ‘Collaboration’ theme has played a repeated occurrence in my life.

The 1st was in our HQ, picking up a copy of the UKSPA latest magazine issue, Breakthrough: Life Sciences and reading Duncan Peberdy (Senior Lead, Digital Learning at Jisc) article ‘Is Your Innovation Location Collaboration Ready’. If I may quote the defining section for me;

“The new spaces must ignite our passions for coming together and contribute towards a culture that also supports our mental well-being. If we want to generate products & services that define us, that push boundaries and push innovation to a new level and not just the next inevitable versions of something already existing, then that started with investment in the spaces where these great advances can be created.”

I particularly agree with the ‘contribute towards a culture…’ bit. Our physical environment impacts on our mental state more than we probably even realise, and it’s our mental states that are responsible for the effective collaboration that results in valuable innovation.

The 2nd account was whilst attending The Facilities Event at the NEC this week, which was a wash of H&S, Security & Fire products being showcased. To be fair, these 3 categories also headlined as separate events. I felt there wasn’t much in the way of general workplace management solutions, but one seminar I was keen to catch was delivered by Mark Miller (Workplace Technology Strategies) at Cisco. Talking to us about ‘Demystifying workplace technology’.

Mark had captured my attention with his statement,

“The workplace is the body language of the business”

I had never thought of it like that before. It makes sense come to think of it.

If your Brand Guidelines is like the business wardrobe, your Messaging Framework is how the business speaks, then I guess the only thing missing is the body language! I would go one step further though and say that your Culture is then the business personality.

How do you know if your workplace body language is lean & open, projecting posture and stature?

Well, we have a few ideas that might help…

In conclusion.

It’s important whilst supporting the process for creating modern collaborative spaces that we think about the 4 different ways in which we collaborate, the tools that we need and how the culture contributes to the environment. Only then should we go about making real shifts in pushing our physical boundaries.

As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts or experience on how you make your workplace a destination for collaboration by hitting us up on Twitter.