Our new whitepaper on maximizing the ROI from your internal collaboration is now available. Here's a preview of what Stephen Shapiro suggests are valuable methods to utilizing collaboration.
Internal collaboration is a viable aspect for any business, regardless of the industry or what services it provides. However, collaboration of any caliber, when not properly regulated or guided, often leads to more problems than helpful assistance. With more and more shared information and collaboration, it generates much more noise and data a company must go through, and often times these suggestions, especially when it comes from an outside source, might not prove helpful at all. In fact, with the number of miss guided suggestions drastically outnumbering those with some merit, it has the potential of costing a business more just to go through the suggestions than to actually move forward with the idea. In order to improve the suggestions and reduce the amount of time spend going through undesirable options, it is possible to achieve a 10 times the return on investment of a company's internal collaboration.
In order to begin with the best crowdsourcing, several key steps must receive attention:
- Request the Best Challenge
- Do it the Right Way
- Ask the Right People
- Motivate Correctly
Request the Best Challenge
When a company stands out and requests just general assistance with a broad problem, it is going to receive a broad number of potential answers. A broad question is going to receive a broad answer, and usually this just doesn't help out at all. Instead, the best challenge is going to be one that is fine tuned. This should help in several different ways. For one, all of the returned answers will focus on the small specifics, which makes the answers much more viable. Secondly, it is going to reduce the number of responses from individuals who do not truly know what is going on. If there is a broad question of "How do you send man to Mars," there are going to be tens of thousands of responses, many of which are not from scientists or individuals with any sort of experience at all. However, if the question is more focused and directed towards a specific aspect, such as "How do you convert and regenerate oxygen into a fuel source in space in order to send man to Mars" there is going to be a much more focused return of answers and most will come from individuals who have experience working with the subject matter.
The Right Way
In order to properly collaborate and crowdsource, it needs to be done the right way. Many individuals are going to think inside a confined box, but often times this box is what prevents the best ideas from coming out. Instead, it is necessary to not think outside of the box, but to completely create a new box. You want to frame the question in the right way so that different domains are able to to answer the question. If a company was to ask how to use oxygen as a fuel, it wouldn't be only directed towards scientists. Anyone dealing with oxygen can have an idea that might prove useful, ranging from engineers to plant researchers who deal with oxygen production.
Ask the Right People
Sometimes the best collaboration comes from a completely different answer and a different sector of the business. When a company wanted to make toothpaste that made teeth whither, they looked towards their laundry department, to see how it made clothes appear whiter. Often times, there are other departments inside of a business that have the answer, the question just needs to be formulated the right way, which is why it is so important to look at all four aspects of the collaboration process.
Individuals, regardless of where they are from, need to be motivated. Motivation generally comes down to three different levels, including compensation, community and contribution. While compensation is a common form of motivation, where an individual is given financial perks, or other desirable prizes, the other two options are helpful as well. Being recognized inside a community of peers might prove more desirable, as most individuals look for recognition, although there are some who simply feel rewarded and are motivated by seeking out the answer for a difficult question on their own. Regardless, motivation is an effective tool.