Collaboration equals harnessing diversity

Sometimes I wonder why collaboration is so interesting to me and today I solved on the why.  It’s because collaboration equals harnessing diversity.

Being an information explorationist, despite whatever job title I may hold at any given time, diversity means exposure to truckloads of information I might not find on my own. And that's cool!


Examples of corporate collaborators

Some industries do bang up jobs with collaboration.  The upstream oil industry, my training ground, is one of them.  I worked the first half of my career as an exploration geophysicist for first ARCO Exploration (now part of BP) and Exxon (before it became Mobilized.

The upstream world of exploration and production is driven by geologic uncertainty and the interpretive nature of the uncertainty instills the need to share and vett ideas with the intention of achieving better results.  Of course, not everyone agrees on the various geologic interpretations so discussion and debates abound.

3M is a great example of a company in another industry that rewards collaborators as part of their KPIs.  Their collaboration also often occurs across business units.  This corporate value has helped propel a plethora of its products – because company big whigs created an environment where folks with diverse expertise can work together to solve business problems that can be converted into products.  Cool, yes?


A few thoughts on how to collaborate

Harnessing diversity starts with corporate culture – and you don’t have to be a science-driven company like upstream oil or 3M to foster a collegiate culture.

The who all who need to collaborate together really depends on the business problem needing resolution.  And of course, sometimes the best source of information comes from an unlikely source so collaboration is also about making way for those folks too.

The other part of collaboration, though, is providing the tools to foster collaboration.  Ideally, the best ones involve folks getting up close and personal to talk.  Part of harnessing diversity, though, includes tapping into folks who may not be able to join the in-person discussions.  That’s where online tools can help.

I can go on about online collaborative communities (and have!) but that’s not really the point I wanted to make in today’s article.  Today’s objective was more simplistic than that.  It was to foster a discussion around the topic of collaboration equals harnessing diversity.

That’s my 2 cents.  What’s yours?