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How are you nurturing deep collaboration in a Pandemic world?
I hope that some of you have found some sort of magical elixir for what I'll call "deep collaboration" during a Pandemic. For context, I'm the TSIA Collaboration Champion for our company, but I'm also a New Product Introduction Engineer in Global Services, and I'm an Agile Team Member, which is to say that I'm an individual contributor. My job, primarily, is to assimilate all of the known technical information for a new product and turn it into something that's digestible by our workforce in Support. Day to day that means that I'm looking at the bleeding edge (sometimes it's still slashing) of everything that's being created, with an eye toward what an administrator or their customers will encounter, so that I can prepare knowledge articles and training modules in advance.
I'm also a long-time-full-time home office worker, I've been doing it for almost five years, and I have privately hoped to see a day when all workers could have the option of working from home.
All that said, the Pandemic wasn't exactly what I had in mind, and now I'm able to understand that that everybody working from home isn't a panacea when it comes to collaboration.
I did a Google search and found this recently written MIT article, and the nature of my work puts me in category 3 (non-routine and highly collaborative knowledge work): https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-increase-collaborative-productivity-in-a-pandemic/
Probably like most of you.
The two recommendations from the article made a lot of sense: (1) deploy technology that encourages serendipitous encounters, and (2) design the job for chance encounters.
One of the "chance encounter" opportunities I'm missing the most right now are the conferences. Kubecon, AWS Summit, TSW, and my company's internal tech summit (and, sadly, the Christmas Conference in Vegas) - I can now see how conferences are unparalleled opportunities to immerse yourself with like-minded people, and so much innovation comes from these forced-chance-encounters.
Are any of you making in-roads in this type of collaboration? Would you care to share what's working? How are you creating and nurturing chance encounters for your knowledge workers?
I will say that our company is doing great with what we have thought of so far - I have access to hundreds of hours of recorded demos, I've got instant contact with any employee I need to talk to, our company has made an Agile transformation, and the big room planning meetings still occur via video conference - but most of these are deliberate, typically unidirectional encounters, even if time is given for Q&A. People ask different questions to an audience of 100 than they ask in a 1:1 with the presenter.
If we imagine the effects of the Pandemic lasting indefinitely, then somehow we're going to need to find a solution for the forced-chance-encounters that nurture rapid innovation. Are any of you having any luck with this?