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    How Does Team Collaboration Facilitate Innovation?

    on 13 March 2018


    Posted by Sam Abrahams

    You have heard the term about your workplace: team collaboration. Every workday, someone mentions the term in reference to working on a project or handling a customer complaint. Rarely do your professional peers link team collaboration to innovation, but they should.

    Innovation developed through collaboration does not necessarily mean a brainstorming session where everyone goes into their own creative worlds to develop innovative ideas. Collaboration in a team setting means following ground rules that ensures every one of your professional peers participates in the sharing of information and decision making.

    Collaboration with your colleagues produces an interactive environment that facilitates innovation. The question to answer is, how does it foster innovation?

    More People Equals Better Innovations

    The legend of Thomas Edison often focuses on how the genius worked on dozens of ideas simultaneously, without conferring with anyone else. This myth should be dispelled by reading documents penned by Edison. He wrote about discussing his ideas with several people, which gave him the insight to make changes or simply discard a project and start over. 

    Collaboration at work produces the most innovative ideas when you bounce ideas off colleagues. Your initial idea receives a suggestion from one colleague, and then the idea moves from one colleague to the next and by the time it gets back to you, the idea has improved in its innovative qualities. Cutting edge innovation also requires more people for collaboration to help attract investment partners and the right team to implement the innovative ideas.

    Real-Time Changes

    Glasscubes helps professionals collaborate. The biggest advantage of using Glasscubes collaboration software is it allows you to connect with colleagues at home and when you travel on business, and our experience tells us collaboration in real time speeds up the innovation process. The chain of communication is super-fast, as one of your peers suggests an idea and another peer immediately provides feedback that modifies the original idea. Face-to-face interaction puts a sense of urgency on communication by expanding upon the original idea.

    The result is like the neurotransmitter version of a nuclear reaction. One idea quickly changes renditions numerous times within a short period. Speed remains the greatest competitive advantage, such as the time it takes to introduce a new product or respond to a customer question. Speed is also critical for the development of innovative ideas that come to fruition quickly because of the open-minded professionals you collaborate with in a team setting.

    Energy Overcomes Resistance to Change

    If innovation is linked to anything, it is linked to resistance. Most of us like the old way of doing things. We do not have to leap over a learning curve, nor do we have to try new ways of doing things. New ideas often receive indifferent reactions at best and hostile responses at worst. However, team discussions and project work generates more than enough energy to overcome resistance from one or more of your professional peers. 

    By involving even those who are resistant to change, teams are able to arrive at new and creative solutions. Without the energy of the team, much talent and potential remains dormant. But within the setting of a positive and dynamic team, formally resistant or negative individuals can contribute and thrive in new, imaginative and unpredictable ways.

    From Ideas to Implementing Strategies

    Coming up with an innovative solution to a difficult problem or introducing several innovative ideas during an extended project means little unless the team implements those innovations. Implementing innovative ideas and strategies requires the participation of each team member. Many innovations never see the proverbial light of day because too many of us are content punching a time clock and not taking risks. The support of the entire team creates the courage necessary to turn innovative ideas into long-lasting innovations that can go on to separate your company from the competition. In some cases, the colleagues who created the innovative idea defer to other members of the team to devise new, improved ways of making that innovation a reality – the team feeds itself with sources of inspiration and exciting solutions result.

    Wondering whether Microsoft Teams, Slack, or SharePoint would be the best collaboration tool for your team? We reached out to users to find out the merits and drawbacks of each one, and you can read their answers here.