Now more than ever we need the highest levels of collaboration in and beyond government to secure the UK’s future following the EU referendum.
The new Prime Minister has three prominent Brexiteers to take charge of different aspects of the intended departure from the European Union. Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis all have key roles and their own perspectives on what Britain should become in the future for which they campaigned. Early reports suggest some power struggles for dominance and allocation of resources and we can only imagine the challenges for the civil servants engaged in trying to deliver on the ambitions of their respective Secretaries of State.
It’s clear, however, that the challenges impact not only the big beasts of Brexit but also the ministers and staff of virtually every Whitehall department as thousands of officials and advisors work on the vast volume of legislation and international agreements inherent in the new politics. Experience has shown us that cross-departmental collaboration in government is contentious, time-consuming and occasionally frustrating for the civil servants who are charged with enabling progress. There has to be a better way.
Now would seem to be a very good time for politicians and officials alike to collaborate in a smarter, faster and more cost-effective way. On-line collaboration hubs, such as those developed by Wiki-Solutions, offer a safe, practical and efficient way of gathering information, exchanging opinion, developing solutions and assessing risk.
By opening the discussion around key issues to a wide range of expertise and opinion within and outside the ministries, decision-makers can come to well-informed decisions far more quickly and with better evidence than is possible through the current system of carefully orchestrated inter-departmental meetings where hours are lost simply agreeing a venue, an agenda and participation.
The option of anonymous participation means that Wiki Hubs generate open and honest discussion where quality of thinking outweighs hierarchy and personal ambition. These discussion and action hubs also enable the debate to embrace, as appropriate, the opinions of subject matter experts, businesses, unions and the 48% who would have preferred a different future for our country.
Barry Clarke OBE
Chairman Wiki Solutions Ltd
How many times have you heard clients say “I wish my agencies would collaborate more”? There seems little doubt that inter-agency collaboration is a good thing. It’s indisputable that all of us are smarter than one of us.
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that have to be addressed before a client will be able to reap the rewards of greater inter-agency collaboration.
Before either clients or agencies can collaborate together they need to improve how they collaborate internally.
The first two big problems to overcome are budgets and status (which often go hand in hand). So everybody competes to get bigger budgets often at the expense of what is best for the business.
Client departments vie with one another and agencies try to land grab more work and budgets from other roster agencies.
Clients have to breakdown interdisciplinary silos (starting internally) to enable everyone to collaborate together to achieve a common set of goals.
Clients and agencies also need to find a new remuneration model that both rewards participation and results rather than hours spent and includes a fee for collaboration.
Another big issue is security. Clients and agencies seem to be under a constant fear of losing their jobs putting pressure to maintain the status quo and resist change. Everyone accepts that change is inevitable yet ostrich like nothing happens.
Collaboration is a specific expertise which needs someone senior internally to be responsible for it and outside experts to help deliver it.
It’s not easy and every client is unique. But there is new technology (and experts) out there to help create and implement a collaboration process. Those that do will prosper at the expense of those who don’t.
Looking through Fast Company I came across an article by Jeff Goins, the author of The Art of Work. In it he talks about creativity being all about connecting with other people, even if we don’t realize it.
These connections invariably lead to collaboration with other like-minded people—and this is something we don't talk about nearly enough.
Any fool can make a point. The truly creative person makes a connection.
The idea of the lone artist slogging away at his or her craft in total isolation is a myth—it always has been. Even reclusive artists like Emily Dickinson communicated regularly with at least one other person.
Most creative work, the scholar Michael Farrell has argued, happens as a result of collaboration. Most of history's key scientific, artistic, and entrepreneurial breakthroughs can be credited to small groups that spurred each other on in their work—Farrell calls these "collaborative circles."
Many collaborative circles, Farrell writes, are formed as an act of rebellion against the current status quo. Creative work is always testing the boundaries of what's come before, and rebellion is an important part of that process.
So let’s rebel a little and collaborate more. Particularly as now there are new innovative ways that people can collaborate together to solve problems quicker, better and more cost effectively than ever before.
Big Data is high on the priority list of boardrooms everywhere with all its inherent challenges - analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying and information privacy.
The overall objective is to extract value from data sets that hopefully will result in greater operational efficiency, cost reduction and reduced risk.
There is one source of extremely valuable data which is hiding in plain sight inside every company, large or small. It is 100% focussed on your business, holds within it the answers to key issues that you are facing and definitely can deliver operational efficiency, cost reductions and reduced risk. It’s also exclusive to you and not accessible by your competitors. Yet it is rarely used.
What is it?
It’s the information, knowledge, experience and know how that is in the heads of your employees, partners, suppliers and customers.
But it doesn’t exist in a dataset, isn’t stored on a spreadsheet and can’t be wired into a computer. Accessing this information requires new thinking, new methodologies and new skills.
For the last four years Wiki-Solutions have been analysing and testing how best to mine this extremely valuable source of proprietary data. As a result, we now have a methodology that is easy to deploy, fast, cost effective and very successful.
The first step to accessing the most powerful data you have is to just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll show you how it can be done.
As Europe’s politicians struggle to reach a comprehensive, clear and humane approach to migration, it’s encouraging to see how many American communities are actively welcoming immigrants.
Some 55 cities and counties across the United States have joined the network developed by Welcoming America which is leading a movement of inclusive communities which take the view that they can become more prosperous by making everyone who lives there feel like they belong.
Welcoming America connects a broad network of non-profit organisations and local governments and supports them in developing plans, programmes and policies that transform their communities into vibrant places where people respect each other and in which everyone’s talents are valued and cultivated.
Member cities and counties extend from Anchorage, Alaska to Hillsborough County, Florida and from Los Angeles, California to New York, New York and include large and small communities across the country.
These are all communities which are committed to the ongoing inclusion and long-term social and economic integration of newcomers and where local governments have specific plans to bring together the public, private and voluntary sectors to create a welcoming community climate that supports long-term integration.
Change Agency and Wiki Solutions are proud to be supporting the board and management of Welcoming America in the design and development of their strategic plans. We like their collaborative and positive approach and are impressed by what they have achieved.
We look forward to helping them flourish and to learn from them lessons that will be highly relevant to Europe in the months and years ahead.
Read more about Welcoming America at www.welcomingamerica.org, Wiki Solutions at www.wiki-soltions.com and Change Agency at www.change-agency.com
We, at Wiki Solutions, have long held the view that collaboration is a hugely powerful way of creating fresh ideas and original thinking. But does this belief hold up when we consider that some of the most powerful creative ideas and executions have been the product of individual artists over time?
That set us to wonder if in fact great artists do themselves believe in the value of collaboration. Well in this day and age, of people sharing and collaborating, it is easy to ask that question of Google. And low and behold there it is, some of the big names in the world of art have enjoyed fruitful, if not fraught, collaborations. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tracy Emin and Louise Bourgeois, Mark Rothco and Philip Johnson, Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, Man Ray and Lee Miller and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenbergto to name but a few.
Wikipedia (another amazing collaborative project) defines collaboration as the process of two or more people or organisations working together to realize shared goals. Clearly in that context these artists have met the definition. However, in the digital age, collaboration can easily go beyond the need for a minimum of two people to affect a collaborative process. Crowdsourcing can engage millions of people simultaneously in creating ideas and that is changing the world of marketing. In fact it is a scary thought for many traditional creatives. This quote from an Adage article on the future of advertising "This whole 'collaboration, we'll work together as a team "breaking down of the creative director and art director team — I find it fucking difficult."
Well get used to it pal because it is here to stay.
Graham Kemp - Founder Wiki-Solutions
In 2016 everyone will face more choices than ever before as the pace of innovation increases. From a marketing perspective the already complex world that you have to operate in will just get more complicated. Current resources will become even more stretched and the time available to deliver results will shorten. Sounds like a recipe for disaster or is it? What if there was a way that even your stretched ambitions could be met? Interested?
Success in 2016 will depend upon the assets that you have available and how you choose to deploy them. If you are looking for quick results then you should start by focusing on your most flexible (and probably most important) asset – people. The people you employ both directly and indirectly and the people you partner with. Everyone will tell you that “They don’t have enough time” so let’s focus on saving time. Specifically the time it takes to find an answer.
How long does that take? If you already know the answer it’s very quick. But if you have to work it out it can be very time consuming. You can always just ‘Google’ it and have instant access to the most wonderful database of information. The elephant in the room is that to be in Google’s database someone has had to post it on the internet. Which means that a lot of it is incomplete and of low value. Just ask yourself how much of your IP that gives you a competitive advantage is posted on the net? Not a lot I hope! So where does high value IP reside? The answer is inside internal databases and in people’s heads.
So that leads us back to your ‘people’ assets. You probably know a great deal about what they know in relation to the job they do but much less about what else they know which may have great value to you particularly when dealing with new challenges. So when faced with a challenge you need to reach out to them. But how?
You can always e-mail them a questionnaire and you might strike lucky. But there are other dynamics in play – today’s challenges are complex and rarely does one person know all the answers but they may know a part of it. Constructive dialogue brings the pieces together. There are also different combinations of ‘right’ answers. (Just think about media selection nowadays rarely does just one medium deliver the optimum results.) Every individual will have their own preferences so diversity of input is critical to success.
You employ smart people, partner with other smart companies and work with smart agencies. One of the keys to your success in 2016 is to be able to get all those smart people to collaborate together to help you meet your challenges. Sounds difficult? That’s where Wiki-Solutions comes in.
We have a proven record of helping companies and organisations find better, faster, smarter solutions to their business challenges through collaboration. We have learnt the keys to getting people to collaborate and we have a unique process (our Wiki-Labs) that is quick to set up and easy for people to participate. It also delivers results faster and cheaper than alternative methodologies. We manage the whole process for you freeing you up to concentrate on your job! Everything is transparent so if curiosity gets the better of you can see everything that is going on. And we’ll even write you a full report if you want one.
Can you spare just 40 minutes (any time of day or night!) for us to meet up to share with you what is in our heads that can help you prosper in 2016?
John Williams - Founder