A great amount of research has gone into exploring the benefits of collaboration. In the talks listed below, seven experts explore where ideas can lead through collaboration and open-source solutions. They discuss how multibillion-dollar companies incorporate collaboration in the workplace today, where we could be as a society with increased daily collaboration and where human communication might go as technology advances. They also share personal experiences from using and contributing to open-source information, how it led to mass collaboration and their results.
Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity
“The art of innovation is a paradox.” Linda Hill explores the complexity of innovation and the trials that come about during the process. Breaking down Pixar’s production process, she walks through some of the advantages of creative collaboration, including how it can speed up processes and provide more room for new ideas and growth. Although innovation can be full of false starts and mistakes, she identifies three capabilities of teams that regularly make large organizations such as Pixar so successful: creative abrasion, creative agility, and creative resolution. Her outlook suggests that everyone is a leader throughout the collaboration process and that everyone’s ideas are taken into serious account. She explains how companies like Pixar and Google are able to consistently innovate by mastering capabilities like collaborative problem solving, discovery-driven learning, and integrative decision making.
Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex
“It’s not important how clever individuals are, what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.” Starting with the idea of human exchange, Matt Ridley explains how collaboration slingshots ideas and improves the quality of work. Through collaboration, “we’ve gone beyond the capacity of the human mind,” he says, “and the human species has created the ability to do things that we don’t even understand.” He goes on to discuss that IQ scores are irrelevant, and what matters is an individual’s ability to communicate their ideas and how well they cooperate.
Howard Rheingold: The power of collaboration
The evolution of communication, the media, and the economy as we know it today wouldn’t be where they are without collaboration. Explaining the notion that humans have a natural instinct to work together, Howard Rheingold discusses in-depth how big companies like HP and IBM are open-sourcing their software to create a feedback mechanism, in order to stay ahead of the game and create multiple solutions before problems ever happen. He discusses the many benefits of open-sourcing, and how millions of people are starting to contribute to the ideas behind big companies like Wikipedia.
Pardis Sabeti: How we’ll fight the next deadly virus
When Pardis Sabeti’s team received the sequence for Ebola during the massive outbreak of 2014, the first thing they did was publish it to the web with a request for help in tracking it and stopping it. She goes through the benefits that worldwide collaboration would have had on the Ebola outbreak had everyone worked together in finding a way to stop it. Discussing the importance of realizing we have the technology to gain the upper hand on deadly viruses, she also talks about the benefits and the essential need for collaboration and transparency as we face the inevitability of another outbreak.
Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration
Research shows that before the internet, humanities largest-scale achievements, such as building the pyramids of Egypt or sending a man to the moon, all consisted of the collaboration of about 100,000 people. The man who invented captchas (the distorted sequence of letters you have to fill out in online forms to prove you’re human) shares how he’s made the time you spend filling out captchas useful. Bringing 750 million people together through a project to digitize books using captchas, spawned a new question: How can we get 100 million people to translate the web into every major language for free? He shares how they came up with the solution through collaboration.
Salvatore Iaconesi: What happened when I open-sourced my brain cancer
Collaboration has been proven to enhance creativity, workflow and many other things. One thing a lot of people don’t think about is how collaboration can simply improve one’s health and happiness. Salvatore Iaconesi shares how 500,000 people joined him on his website to collaborate on how to help him improve his well being after he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and the outcome had nothing to do with medicine.
Caitria and Morgan O’Neill: How to step up in the face of disaster
After a massive tornado hit Caitria and Morgan’s house, they stepped up and decided to delegate help being brought into the community. Quickly realizing how easy it is for unorganized aid to feed into the chaos, they decided to build a disaster relief system that would make it much easier for cities to collaborate effectively and get help exactly where they need it and when moments after a disaster.
As technology progresses, collaboration will continue to be what propels companies forward. Copious amounts of research indicate that continuous exploration of ideas and pooling the knowledge of many individuals are what still set the most successful companies apart. Has your company implemented workplace collaboration methods? Have they been successful? Let us know in the comments below!