The workplace of the 21st century needs to ask itself, “How do we create a culture of innovation?” Innovation is now being treated as a science, as corporate executives seek new answers to the oldest problems known to business. One of the most common answers to this question is providing access to collaboration tools, and there are a few reasons why.
The 21st Century Worker Seeks Collaboration
To understand collaboration in the 21st century workplace, you must first understand the 21st century worker. Take a look at this infographic on the most sought after skills in today’s worker. Collaboration, communication, leadership, productivity and accountability are all keywords that can help organizations empower their employees. “Many businesses are adopting a participative management style, which involves employees in decision making,” says George DeMetropolis, a professor at the University of Phoenix. By creating this kind of environment, employees are motivated to go beyond their standard job description to add value to the company.
The Rize of the Social Workplace
It’s not just an organization’s workplace that needs to use collaboration tools to succeed, its the organization itself. More corporate environments are focusing on developing communities for the customers, as well as their employees. Social networks and social tools are used by large companies in multiple capacities: customer service, product updates, and employee communication. According to IDC, about 75 million instant messaging (IM) accounts were active in business in 2003.
Breaking Down Silos With Collaboration Tools
In the traditional workplace, it was common for multiple departments to become siloed. To achieve innovation, all these moving parts have to be working towards a common goal, and collaboration tools are the most effective way to do that. This is especially true with content management and creation. A 2008 IBM white paper on collaboration recognized this soon after social networks were adopted en masse, and in today’s workplace “content is developed through participation; it is fluid, contextual and leveraged to create opportunities through ongoing collaboration… Participatory capabilities can provide businesses with user-driven innovation, simpler and more productive solutions, integration of tasks, reduced cost and higher employee satisfaction.”