This week I read an interesting piece by Andy Zinga in the Harvard Business Review titled “A Social Brain Is a Smarter Brain.” . As an unrepentant extrovert, the title was immediately validating. The author asserts that social interaction is not only good for maintaining higher level mental functioning, but in fact may help drive meaningful innovation. I wanted to explore this idea.
Benefits of Collaboration
Zinga writes, “Open innovation projects (where organizations facing tricky problems invite outsiders to take a crack at solving them) always present cognitive challenges…But they also force new, boundary-spanning human interactions and fresh perspective-taking. They require people to reach out to other people, and thus foster social interaction.” He quotes two studies that found that the social process that facilitated the collaboration between two organizations were determining factors in the project’s success Interestingly, one of the studies showed that the broader benefits of the multidisciplinary social interaction outweigh the concrete results of getting specific solutions That might be a tough sell to the business owner. Boss, we didn’t close the deal. But the good news is we sure found the collaboration exciting.
Empowering Your People
As the Big Omaha conference on innovation concludes today, one of the recurring themes is innovation through collaboration. Many speakers emphasize the importance of knowledge sharing, community building and honoring alternative viewpoints as way to ensure you’re playing devil’s advocate to your business model and thinking from all sides. All of this requires frequent communication and social interaction. I am finding this to be true for one of our mobile apps, Action Card . The customers who currently use Action Card for conducting field compliance reviews have typically sought consultation from us and feedback from the various members of their teams who use the app in one way or the other. Most of the features built into it have been based on client suggestions. Operations Directors and business owners who realize the greatest utility have one thing in common. They created an open environment that empowered people to offer their opinions. When I sit in groups with these people or on conference calls, I can predict who our most successful clients will be by the number of people who contribute.
In my past life I taught sixth graders in Oakland California. The disparate learning levels and abilities made lesson planning extremely challenging. One of my more successful teaching methods for introducing literary concepts and discussing stories was through groups. A concept called “story mapping” that L learned through a workshop at The Bay Area Writing Project was critical. The kids collaborated to illustrate scenes from the literature, write new vocabulary words and concepts. The collaboration pulled all of them in and played off of their individual strengths. They helped teach each other. Are we doing enough problem solving and innovation through interaction in our business?
January 19, 2021
Software development is a team-based endeavor because of the complexity involved in launching a new system. Gone are the days when one developer can be point on the whole back-office software stack. It now takes multiple specialized roles to (appropriately) fulfill the software delivery lifecycle. A typical software project requires: Leadership Product management Project management […]
January 13, 2021
One definition of rot is the process of deterioration. Something that decays over time. By this standard – software rots like food in the Nebraska heat. It’s true. If your software isn’t regularly updated, it deteriorates and breaks down. Consider this – software is written to work at a moment in time…but time marches on. […]
January 4, 2021
OMAHA, NE, January 4, 2021 – In late 2020, Volano Solutions announced it has changed its name to Volano Software and launched a new website: www.volanosoftware.com. The name change was made to more accurately reflect what the company does, and the website was designed to be more informative and user-friendly to clients and prospective clients […]
June 2, 2020
According to LinkedIn technology (software) has a higher overall turnover rate than retail. With that, it isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. Volano has engineered a culture of “by developers, for developers” and this helps our retention. In fact, most of the folks that work at Volano have been here +5 […]
June 2, 2020
It is hard enough to build a successful business, and few want to invest time and resources into worrying about an Intellectual Property Assignment. But alas, you must do your homework. Fortunately, we make it easy for Volano customers. When asked – “Who owns the software and IP for my project?” – it is an […]
May 28, 2020
Many of us remember the grade school game Telephone. It was funny to see how a simple message would get garbled as it was passed along from person to person. But it’s not as funny when that message is a critical business requirement that will be turned into software that will power your business. Yet, […]