Innovation is not just for products and services. The best teams also find innovative ways of working together to support them in producing game-changing work.
There are many great examples of collaboration techniques and rituals that successful companies have used to support an innovative culture – Pixar’s Braintrusts, Etsy’s Blameless Post-Mortems, Amazon’s Two Pizza Rule, Google’s secrets for effective brainstorming to name just a few. It’s tempting to want to copy these ideas, but these final versions may only be part of the story. These ways of working may have come about through a process of trying and tweaking that is specific to the company, their people and their environment. You can certainly try them, but it’s likely that they’ll need to be adapted for your context.
Continue reading Want to build more innovative products and services? Innovate the way that you work
The insights and breakthroughs that participants experience in a great workshop can have a big influence on the way they think about teamwork. An effective workshop demonstrates what can be achieved with focused and purposeful collaboration in a short space of time.
As Jake Knapp from Google Ventures said in “Sprint”, the book that outlines their 5-day workshop for building and testing new ideas:
“After your first sprint, you might notice a shift in the way your team works… you’ll build confidence in one another’s expertise and in your collective ability to make progress towards ambitious goals”
There are few principles you can adopt to make sure that workshops have an positive impact on your team culture:
Continue reading How to improve your team culture with workshops
The word ‘meeting’ likely conjures up an uninspiring image for you – talking through an agenda (if there is one) point-by-point, some people dominating, others zoning out. The typical format is so easy, it’s almost automatic, without really thinking whether it’s what we really need to make progress. We’re getting of tired meetings. We have too many of them, and when they’re not run well, they’re unproductive with no real outcomes.
But teams still need to get together to have discussions – whether virtually or physically. So when you do meet, how can you make sure it’s meaningful?
An effective meeting starts before the calendar invites are sent out and the agenda is written. It starts with asking two questions: 1) why are we meeting? 2) what’s the best format for it?
The team at Nordnet Design Studio have taken a proactive approach to clearly defining the types of meetings they have, and have built these into a rhythm. Inspired by this, here is a list of 26 different ways to meet. There’s something in here whether you need to communicate updates, generate ideas, have high-level strategy discussions or even just get to know each other better.
Continue reading 26 different ways to meet with your team
Research has shown time and time again that how teams work together has more of an impact on its performance than who is on the team. A clear way to increase chances of your team’s success is to explore the habits, routines and rituals that will enable you to do better work together.
This is what I covered in a 25min talk – Designing your way to better team collaboration (video) – at Mind The Product this year. I featured practical examples of teams that had created methods and processes that made a big difference to their work.
These are the areas and some examples that I shared: Continue reading Designing better teamwork
What does your typical work day look like? For many of us, it will be punctuated by meetings, emails, chats with co-workers, notifications from collaboration tools, and if we’re really honest, browsing the web and getting sucked into social media. Our days are often spent switching quickly between the items on our to-do list.
But when was the last time you were able to carve out a good chunk of time from your work day to really concentrate and focus on a task? That might feel like a distant luxury.
Enter “deep work”
What happens in these long, uninterrupted stretches of time is what Cal Newport calls ‘deep work’ – “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit”. In his book of the same name, Newport argues that our tech-driven culture is making insane demands on our attention, and also reducing our ability to focus. But for those that are able to engage in frequent deep work, it’s hugely advantageous for developing expertise, increasing productivity and advancing professionally. Continue reading How to strike the balance between deep work and collaboration
Sometimes the smallest actions can make a big difference.
In this video, I share five tips to help you facilitate your next workshop, that I’ve picked up through trial and error in the many workshops that I’ve run.
They will help you to ease your participants into a collaborative mindset, encourage ideas from everyone and get your workshop back on track. Continue reading 5 tips for facilitating your next workshop
How often does your team get a chance to look at the bigger picture together? It’s likely that you’re often all so busy delivering work, meeting deadlines and handling customer needs, it’s a challenge to find the time to step back and take a look at the overall direction you’re going.
A strategic discussion with your team can be valuable in many ways, providing the time and space to learn from each other, share ideas, and reconnect with your team’s purpose – a great way to improve motivation.
Continue reading Motivate and re-focus your team with this 2-hour workshop
Have you ever attended a fantastic workshop where you left feeling motivated to take the next steps, only to wonder, a few weeks later, what happened to all of those great ideas everyone developed?
Although we pay a lot of attention to the design and facilitation of workshops, the workshop follow-up is often left as an afterthought. Even a great workshop will lose its impact if you don’t make the most of the momentum that was created on the day.
If you’re the person leading the workshop, it’s also your job to take care of the follow-up. Here are some tips to make sure you get the results you need:
Continue reading 5 tips for better workshop follow-up