It’s no secret that collaboration is a necessary part of a growing and innovative business, but it can often feel like a buzzword and it is often terribly misunderstood.
The reality is that embracing collaboration at all levels in your business is critical to its success and growth potential.
Here are three reasons why:
1. Embracing Collaboration Can Save You Time and Money
Collaborative practices can save time and money by producing more and more valuable knowledge.
In “The Knowledge-Creating Company” by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, this idea is explored through a litany of case studies. This collaborative knowledge-creation flywheel is a direct product of the combined unique and subjective insights and intuitions of individual employees.
Knowledge is power. If tapped into, it can continually light the way to increased operational efficiency, reduction of costs, and mitigation of risks.
Collaboration can also save time and money by directly leading to more effective decision making.
A study by Nemeth, C. J. found that exposure to more diverse perspectives spurs divergent thinking which leads to better decision making “because they attend to more aspects of the situation and reexamine premises.”
This exposure to diverse perspectives through collaboration has great potential to prevent bad decisions which often result in the mishandling of resources and wasted time and money.
2. Embracing Collaboration Can Enable and Enhance Innovation
Increased flow of idea exchange fuels strategic growth and innovation–resulting in fewer silos, better informed decisions and rapid task completion.
In a lecture at Harvard's i-lab, Michael Skok emphasizes the significance of collaboration in the process of building a “whole product”. He notes that most companies only have a piece of the puzzle, emphasizing the necessity of establishing the right ecosystem when producing a whole product.
A company could be working on a website design and simply hire a team of developers, which would get the scope of work done. Adding additional teammates to the project–like researchers for customer discovery, marketing strategists for audience acquisition, and analytics experts for product performance–could accelerate performance and growth exponentially.
The right conglomerate will point out product pitfalls, explore customer needs, and recommend features not recognized by a standard development team alone.
3. Embracing Collaboration Can Strengthen Your Business Relationships
A study by Hoegl and Georg Gemuenden links the level of Teamwork Quality (TWQ) to successful innovation, noting it being driven by team member’s feelings of personal success. Teamwork Quality fosters a culture of communication, inclusivity and common value.
Happy teams are irrefutably linked to positive customer experiences and external partnerships. Strengthened internal relationships amplify stakeholder reputation while mitigating overall risk.
Reputation could also be amplified through association with external partners.
Fulfilling product needs through a complementary business partner, for example, could provide additional potential to reach new markets and audiences. The audience, network, and expertise of another organization can help boost a firm in ways that are not possible internally
In modern business, the power of collaboration cannot be underestimated.
In this article, we looked at how the synergy of combined perspectives, knowledge, and skills not only optimizes operational efficiency but also drives innovation and fortifies business relationships.
From the tangible benefits of cost and time-saving to the intangible values of fostering a harmonious work culture, collaboration acts as a linchpin for business growth.
By prioritizing collaboration, you will strategically position your company to tackle future challenges, seize novel opportunities, and ensure sustainable expansion in a competitive marketplace.
We are capable of more together than we are alone, and businesses that understand and integrate this principle are bound to flourish.