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Collaborating to Solve Problems and Accelerate Innovation

Collaboration occurs when two or more people work together, usually in an iterative manner, to fulfill a common goal.

When the goal is innovation, collaboration is often seen as an essential function – because needed solutions will come from the experiences, insights and creativity that exist within peoples’ heads and that gets triggered and retrieved when stimulated by the context of a shared problem-solving task.

The reason that innovation and collaboration have become so tightly linked is that:

  • Products are increasingly complex – requiring experience and insights from multiple disciplines (mechanical, electrical, chemical ,software)
  • Optimal solutions are often lie beyond the “tried & true” of the current sphere of expertise
  • Without leveraging what others know, the team will reinvent the wheel or overlook a more optimal solution – costing the corporation time and competitive differentiation

But when it comes to collaborating, conventional approaches fall short. Connecting to the right people at the right time with the right context is essential, but elusive. And there is no effective way to leverage past collaborative activities.

Collaborating to Solve ProblemsTo facilitate shared problem solving, collaboration capabilities need to be integrated with repeatable innovation tools and methods. Innovation software, like Invention Machine Goldfire, makes it much easier to collaborate – both passively and actively – with subject matter experts across your organization. Many companies we work with have formalized collaboration processes, especially when engineers hit roadblocks or challenges.

Through active collaboration, these processes allow people to identify and directly reach out to and engage the relevant subject matter experts. Passive collaboration means being able to leverage the ideas and insights of your colleagues – even those no longer with the company – by accessing documented lessons learned, designs, technical notes, etc. Having software in place that enables both active and passive collaboration helps you see further by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Innovation software helps connect people based on what they know, allowing users to launch and review problem-solving discussion threads – without having to leave the innovation platform - and identifying and maintaining expert profiles and then routing questions to the individuals most likely to have expertise on the subject.

As a result, cross-functional, cross-geographical and cross-language teams are better connected (based on what they know and need to know) and leveraged.  Effective sharing of ‘gray-matter’ expertise is accelerated.   And, problem-solving expertise is automatically captured for reuse across the enterprise.

How are you enabling collaborative innovation in your organization?

Find out how innovation software can help your teams collaborate to accelerate problem solving and drive sustainable innovation.