Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | No Comment

I’ve been thinking a bit about the future of the university, and it seems to me that a new model may be emerging, one that has something of the traditional sanctuary of a place of learning, but that innovatively engages communities, both local and international. There will, of course, have to be those preserves where students and teachers can contemplate their experience and learn together, but there must also be what, for the moment, one might think of as an edge zone where interactions of many kinds might take place.

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How to Create a Successful Workplace Collaboration Platform

Submitted by on January 11, 2012 – 4:15 pmNo Comment

By Dan Anderson

While reading a recent blog article ’The Three Pillars of Collaboration’ I was struck by two thoughts. The first was that the  authors astutely observed the range of  workplace challenges. The second was that they overlooked one very important issue.

 

Dysfunctional Workplace Behavior

 

The authors note the apparent amnesia that seems to set in after a flurry of meetings, rehashing the same issues, and the loss of cohesion and original intentions in between. Even the dispersion of documents and data underscores the overwhelming sense of repeating the same work over and over. Their thoughtful observation was that collaboration was broken and that organizations need to look carefully at how to better support collaboration.

 

Support Platform for Collaboration

 

Readily identified as technologists, the authors broadly identified three supports in as important for enabling collaboration. First – Policies and Processes, which clarify responsibilities and the flow of work and information. Second – Technology, the importance of managing information across, local and distributed, and social networks in ways that are accessible, visible and easily shared. Third – Culture, the importance of embedding innovation and teamwork within the DNA of the company. The authors note the obvious interconnections between these supports, that they do not exist in isolation, and that organizations must take a broad multi-faceted approach to achieve a significant strategic outcome.

 

So What’s Missing?

 

As workplace strategists and designers of effective workplaces, our perspective at Anderson Porter Design is that the physical settings of work play a significant role in supporting and enabling work practices. Some practitioners may be inclined to give space the highest importance, but like the referenced authors, we also know that multiple ingredients are needed to create a strong workplace collaboration platform. We see the work setting as one of several combined supports. The ongoing challenge is to continuously improve the platform, keep it aligned with the mission of the organization, and maintain its ability to respond to ongoing and dynamic changes in work and work practices.

What do you think?

Dan Anderson is a Partner at Anderson Porter Design