The Power of Collaboration
Updated: Sep 14
We always hear about the importance of collaboration, so much so that we just assume it has power, but where does that power come from? Is collaboration all it’s cracked up to be? And in this pandemic age, where people are working from home in their pajamas, is collaboration still important?
We can tell you that from our research and experience, collaboration is vital to things like learning, problem-solving, fulfillment in the workplace, efficiency, and innovation. But in the spirit of collaboration, let’s discuss!
What is collaboration?
First off, what is collaboration? Dictionary.com defines it, “To work, one with another; cooperate, as on a literary work.” Well, that sounds delightful and creative, but also a little simplistic.
We want to know more about how collaboration affects our work, our goals, our productivity, and our happiness. Corey Moseley describes collaboration as “when a group of people come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective, project, or mission,” in his blog “Why Collaboration is Important.” And that shared mission? It doesn’t have to be specific; it could be just to get your work done or find success. We collaborate each day, without even realizing it, simply by bouncing ideas off others or absorbing a new perspective.
How does collaboration help us?
Now that we have an idea of what collaboration is, how exactly does it help us?
1. We Learn from Other’s Experiences
When we work closely with others, we learn from their experiences. By listening and working side by side, we gain new perspectives, patterns, and ways of thinking. If we work only in isolation, we operate solely from our own backgrounds and experiences. As David Galliana points out in his blog “6 Benefits of collaborative working for businesses”, “Collaborative working enriches professional life because it is based on sharing and exchanges, and it gives the opportunity to learn new skills and working methods.”
2. It Strengthens Our Ability to Problem Solve
Beyond learning from other’s experiences, we also discover solutions to problems by listening to others. The expansion of our known viewpoint due to teamwork and cooperation allows for new approaches to problems we’ve been facing. How many times have we been struggling with an obstacle only to find a friend or coworker has the exact solution to that very thing?
Galliana puts it this way, “Collaborative teamwork encourages people from different backgrounds and experiences to work together and help each other out. Everyone can contribute their knowledge, talents and skills to the group. They also suggest new ideas that help resolve their difficult problems, enabling their projects progress.” Progress can only happen if something changes. Often, adapting a new view of the problem, which you’ve learned from a colleague, is that change.
3. Forming Connections with Others Creates a Positive Workspace
We bond and feel enriched by our relationships with collaborators. We desperately need human connection. In-person fraternization gives us the thrill of shared experience. Once we’ve found a commonality with another, we want to share more and will relish the thought of getting to work...and don’t we all want to want to go to work?
4. It’s More Efficient
How often do we toil over an idea, wondering, will it work? Will this appeal to the market? Is it even possible? Then, we spend five minutes workshopping an idea with a coworker or confidante and suddenly, it’s clear. The efficiency of bouncing ideas off someone else rather than letting it roll around in your own head is invaluable.
Additionally, the right now of trying a new idea out on someone in person, versus emails and messages that are read and dealt with at the receiver’s leisure, takes substantially less time. And brainstorming is nearly impossible with no feedback or fresh perspectives. If we are trying to utilize our time to the fullest, collaboration minimizes the demons of self-doubt and inaction, and maximizes our creativity and production.
5. “Human Connection Breeds Innovation”
In Grant Powell’s article for Forbes.com, “The Future of Work - What’s the Point of a Shared Workspace”, he notes that, “In co-working spaces, this connection and innovation is heightened as you bump into individuals working in totally different areas.” It is the constant input of fresh opinions, mindsets, and experiences that inspires us. We combine our diverse contexts and goals to create leading-edge tech, design, art, etc.
“Even though you might not frequently interact with this satellite group of people, a vast array of social science suggests that the value of these weak ties is key in widening perspectives, pushing the boundaries and developing innovative ideas.” Not only does personal interaction grow our capacity for creation, but it excites us as human beings.
What Does Collaboration Have to Do with Our Longmont Coworking Space?
What we now know of as a “coworking space” began in San Francisco in 2005. According to Alessandro Gandini’s research for Ephemera, it was designed to offer a “‘third way’ of working.” This way allowed for people to have the freedom to freelance and set their own hours without having to work in isolation. It is the best of both worlds: independence meets collaboration. You come and go as you please, and yet you have a vast array of coworkers with unique and varied perspectives with whom to learn and share.
Here at The Times Collaborative, our premier Longmont coworking space, we collaborate with everyone from bakers to mortgage brokers, event planners to internet marketers, and everything in between. If you are looking for a motivating office space in Longmont with inspiring “coworkers”, a test kitchen, or a gorgeous spot to hold your next event, contact us for more information.