Last week Clearvision held its biggest ever event, The Future of Team Collaboration.
Between the impressive lineup of speakers and the great discussion throughout the day, we came away buzzing with inspiration. Of course, it’s not true collaboration if we keep it all to ourselves!
In this post, we’re sharing our top takeaways on the tools and trends shaping the future of collaboration and teamwork. For pictures from the day check out our Facebook page.
We’d like to extend a huge thanks goes to all speakers who presented on the day and helped make the #FutureTeams event such a success, and of course to all the attendees, whose questions, discussions, tweets and talks made the day truly interactive and collaborative.
One of the most striking cases for the collaboration being such a significant topic came from the keynote speech from Professor Brian Cox.
When discussing his work at CERN, he touched upon its origins: countries came together to form the organisation with the goal of rebuilding knowledge and culture following the events of World War 2. The idea was that this would play a big role in preventing such a conflict from occurring again.
As well as wowing the audience with a lecture on quantum mechanics and string theory, Cox’s message for collaborative best practice was a simple one – bringing together the world’s leading minds is easy when you have one unifying goal.
CERN brings together over 600 organisations from around the world to try and solve the mysteries of the Higgs Boson. This truly is collaboration at scale!
The message highlighting the importance of collaboration was reinforced by the day’s other keynote speaker, SAS veteran Chris Ryan. Discussing his experiences during the First Gulf War back in 1991, during which he was the only member of the eight-man SAS mission Bravo Two Zero to escape capture, he demonstrated with chilling clarity the potential scale of the consequences of ineffective communication and collaboration.
While for the majority of us poor collaboration will lead to a drain on resources and spiralling business costs, in more extreme cases it can be the difference between life and death.
Needless to say, collaboration is essential in all areas of life.
“Digital disruption is driving innovation.”
Bringing it back to the business world, the notion of digital disruption cropped up throughout many of the talks. From Paul Renshaw’s introduction to Atlassian’s “software teaches the world” talk, digital disruption is on everybody’s mind.
Even in industries traditionally removed from the digital sphere, it’s the advancement of software that leads the revolution in the way businesses operate – think traditional taxi companies and the rise of Uber.
This trend of digital disruption in the wake of new technology isn’t going anywhere, and in reality it’s been around for a long time.
It’s not without its challenges: sometimes it can lead to a divide in companies. Organisations may see a split between those who want to embrace these new ways of working, and those who fear it (and this in itself was a pain point that cropped up a few times during Q&A panels – more on that in the section below).
This can quickly become an organisation-wide issue. Collaboration is impossible when there’s such a fundamental difference in ways of thinking. In this way, while new technology creates new possibilities, it can also create silos.
How do we tackle this?
Since the day was all about collaboration, we wanted to encourage it on the day – collaboration in action, as well as in theory! This was where the interactive iPad conferencing came into play. Not only could attendees ask questions from the floor during the Q&A panels, but they could also send in questions related to each talk through the iPad app.
We’ll be answering some of the questions we didn’t get a chance to ask on the day in a follow up blog post, but a recurring question was that of how to deal with change within an organisation. Where is the best place to start?
One major factor in encouraging effective collaboration in the face of change is to boost employee engagement. People who are invested not only in the work they’re doing but the way they’re working, whether that’s adopting tools or being enthusiastic about processes, will help defeat silos before they take root. Change doesn’t happen overnight: begin with “change agents” and let the benefits spread throughout the organisation.
With engagement and user adoption so closely linked, it’s the best way to encourage those who are reluctant about new technology to invest their time in embracing it.
Another way to defeat silos? Bring separate teams together – literally.
Follow the lead of the DevOps movement, which combines development and IT operations to remove conflict and create a more efficient workflow for all involved.
What is collaboration? What is culture?
“Fluffy”, according to Atlassian’s Neal Riley. Pinning down just what collaboration and culture means within your organisation can be tricky, but what was apparent in every talk was that the two are intrinsically linked, and that whatever shapes your employee culture the biggest thing to remember is that employees are actually human beings.
Naturally, no one wants to fail – just as naturally, failure is inevitable if you’re taking risks in order to innovate. For this reason, it’s important to work towards a collaborative culture where people aren’t afraid to talk about failure. It happens; what matters is that we learn from it as we move on. It’s all about agile working, making sure you incorporate the lessons you learn into your next iteration of work.
As Peet Denny of LV= said: Improve the frequency and quality of your collaboration and communication, create a culture where failure doesn’t have to be a negative, and you’ll be on your way to more awesome in less time.
The Future of Team Collaboration was packed with thought-provoking presentations and discussion. We’re really just skimming the surface with our main takeaways here, so watch this space! We’ll be posting more blogs over the next couple of weeks exploring these ideas in more detail, as well as answering some of the many questions you sent us that we didn’t get the chance to ask on the day.
And finally, we’d like to extend a big thanks to our sponsors! We couldn’t have pulled off such a success without you.
If you’re still hungry for more on the latest in collaboration, or if you weren’t able to make the Future of Team Collaboration event, then check out the eBook below! In the spirit of true collaboration, we reached out to our partners to put together the ultimate resource for all things collaborative. Download for free and start future proofing your teams!