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Collaboration Is The Engine Room of Innovation

In a time-poor, resource-poor environment, it’s tempting to think that that you can do everything yourself. Budgeting, marketing, finance, HR: all down to one tired entrepreneur clutching the reins.

One thing that could change the narrative of your survival is collaboration. 

Collaboration is crucial for innovation to succeed – a topic researched in Sarah Miller Caldicott’s Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison's Lab. 

Her account of the construction of the world’s first power station is the story of the forward thinking, collaboration, outstanding delivery, and monetization of the Pearl St Power Station in 24 months – then turning a profit in 3 years. 

Thomas Edison developed innovative solutions in small tight teams for new and unknown engineering problems – for things like power meters and massive dynamos.

From this case study of her great-grand uncle, Caldicott reveals the 4 key stages of collaboration:

1.    Capacity: Build diverse teams of two to eight people. Allow them to discover new ways to think and problem-solve.

2.    Context: Keep learning, learn from mistakes, and learn from your experiments. Always question your assumptions. 

3.    Coherence: Create coherent frameworks for decision-making. Develop a process to guide progress. Find acceptable language for voicing divergent points of view.

4.    Complexity: Develop practical ideas for managing complexity, from reskilling your people to leaving a footprint for others to follow once a successful project launches. 

Ideas are the base of innovation. With no idea, you can’t innovate. And if you can’t collaborate, you can’t bring make your project real. Without it, Edison would never have invented the lightbulb with the help of glassblowers, chemists, and mathematicians. 

Collaboration is the life-blood of your innovative ideas – if you can let go of the reins and let your team shine. 

Ideas Accelerator is a clear and accountable process that helps people rapidly act on their ideas, help get concepts to market faster, engage customers, and be more profitable. Contact Paul Wilson here to turn your ideas into action.