culture of collaboration – thoughts on int.article

Again, very interesting article in Business Week:

How 3M Forged a Culture of Collaboration

Some excerpts from: What can executives learn from 3M’s approach to collaboration?

Support networks. Build Web-based social networks that help employees with a problem find those with an answer. Support grassroots networking initiatives such as 3M’s TechForum—an employee-run group that organizes speaker events to stimulate thinking and also serves as a kind of mixer, where scientists from different labs or divisions can connect in person.

Encourage curiosity. 3M allows employees to spend 15% of their time on projects of their choosing, giving them permission to develop ideas or technologies that may be outside of their regular work focus. Such policies increase the odds of collaboration, as the path of curiosity often leads employees beyond their knowledge base, to a place where they need the advice and insight of others.

Create innovation funds. Group or department managers focused on core-related projects often don’t want to spend money exploring or developing innovative ideas. To overcome this common roadblock, companies should create an alternative source—3M calls these Genesis Grants—that employees can go to for funding of innovation projects that don’t fit neatly into existing departments.

Don’t underestimate the value of physical proximity. When 3M’s Post-it Note team wanted to accelerate product development, it had the team’s marketing, financial, and other nonmembers move into the same building with the tech folks. If different functions have to be housed in different buildings, pay for a shuttle service that makes it easy for employees in different departments to visit each other.

Support networks sounds familiar – with Web 2.0 tools it’s now easy to establish support networks, next this is to build the culture which will make it efficient.

Encouraging creativity will surely give the benefits, to the oragnizations that can afford it.

Innovation funds gives innovations new chance, and make innovation process more simple(as much as it can be simple). This point can be essential in creating new – innovative products as it’s not always the right way to follow only customer wishes.

Visiting different departments – just to say that it’s very useful in big companies.

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