Five Key Principles for Successful Collaboration
Definition of collaboration
Collaboration refers to a form of teamwork in which the collaborators contribute and complement their different strengths to achieve a common goal.
The term is used in the context of business innovation, business leadership and project management.
Especially in the process of ideation, idea generation, and implementation of innovative projects, collaboration is considered a proven way to achieve results in idea management and innovation management. Continuous improvement and process improvement also benefit significantly, focusing on the key success factors of collaboration. In order for teams to collaborate successfully, a number of principles have to be observed, which are described in more detail here.
Key success factor 1: Collaboration is more than the sum of its parts
Successful collaboration is characterized by the fact that team members contribute their different strengths and different skills. For example, a team member with strong creative skills can very well be complemented by others with high levels of analytical expertise and implementation skills.
Key success factor 2: Drive collaboration in the organization
Collaboration is considered a proven method in organizations to manage, for example, digital transformation and digitalization. It is also an essential prerequisite for idea management and innovation management. Interdisciplinary teams are formed from different departments and areas.
Through collaboration, challenges can often be better analyzed and understood. This works exceptionally well if an innovation culture is established within a company that promotes the exchange of ideas, thoughts, and knowledge. It also requires management to assign decision-making powers to teams and reduce the effort for formal reporting. This method enables organizations to gain speed in decision-making and implementation.
Key success factor 3: The use of collaboration software
The technologies of social internet enable a unique form of collaboration, which is often referred to as social collaboration in companies. Web-based apps or programs are usually used for this purpose, in which employees can manage tasks and projects, discuss topics, and transparently track the achievement of corporate goals.
In many companies, collaboration software enhances the traditional forms of communication. The successful implementation requires a culture of collaboration: cross-functional and cross-hierarchical collaboration should already be established as a corporate value.
Providers include the American manufacturer Podio, the project management tool Trello and Microsoft Teams. In the area of idea management and innovation management, the idea management software and innovation management software of Innolytics AG promotes collaboration.
Using the Innolytics® software, teams can immediately start developing ideas and successfully implementing projects through collaboration. The basic version of the software is permanently free for up to 15 users.
Key success factor 4: Learning from collaboration in IT
Especially in IT, the method of agile working has become more and more established in recent times. Methods such as SCRUM rely on teams working self-determinedly and organizing themselves within a so-called sprint. SCRUM is one of the most common methods and is one of the basics of agile development.
Also methods like pair programming are used more often: Two programmers work together on a program code, discussing each step and checking each other’s work. These methods, which are used for example by Pivotal Labs in San Francisco, ensure that different views are taken into account in each step of a development and that results are controlled at an early stage. Agile self-determined working is based on the principle of collaboration in IT.
Key success factor 5: Collaboration needs cooperation
Is collaboration the same as cooperation? No – but it is a mandatory requirement! While cooperation can often be limited to the exchange of knowledge and information, collaboration means working together to achieve a defined result. However, collaboration is not possible without cooperation.
If team members withhold knowledge from other members, discussions are dishonest and there is no willingness to work on a topic together, collaboration as a method cannot be used successfully. A culture of cooperation within a company, with competitors or customers, is an essential prerequisite for successful collaboration.