3 Ways To Foster Collaboration

Collaboration is the mainstay of social activity in organizations. But over the years, collaboration has evolved from being about email and messaging to part of a holistic engagement strategy.

A recent IBM Center for Applied Insights social adoption study revealed that many organizations start with collaboration to accomplish specific business goals, such as employee productivity or increasing customer loyalty and advocacy.

But getting collaboration right doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in an ad hoc fashion. Social pioneers have a deliberate approach to investing in key tools to make the most of knowledge exchange and enhance internal and external relationships. Here are three ways to do so:

  1. Collaborative applications: Mobile and web-based tools — such as web conferencing and instant messaging — allow businesses to access, share and work on projects online at anytime with internal and external stakeholders.
  2. Company-wide social networks: Collaborative capabilities allow users inside or outside an organization’s firewall to communicate with one another. Examples include activity streams, communities, forums and blogs.
  3. Social media marketing: Social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, can reach customers and promote content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks.

There are great examples of collaboration done right and many organizations. But outside the corporate realm, educational institutions have been good test beds for best practices in collaboration. Colleges and universities are forced to be open to diverse technology because of the varying needs of an inherently social student population.

And beyond technology, colleges and universities have needed to be open to a change in mindset. As the breeding ground of future disruptors and emerging technology breakthroughs, universities are the type of place where innovation happens. And it’s fueled by collaboration.

A good example of how social collaboration has changed the way students, faculty and administration engage is the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). California-based FIDM offers role-specific services, catering to the needs of various communities, such as mobile-accessible class schedules or class materials for students, shared by faculty memebers. Ultimately, FIDM was able to increase engagement and productivity across its colleges through a multi-channel digital experience that combines classic communication tools with sophisticated analytics and personalization capabilities.

This deliberate approach to collaboration is a trend that many pioneering organizations are embracing, part of the path to more sophisticated capabilities for community engagement, including personalization and behavioral analytics. In turn, these organizations are also establishing a benchmark of best practices for collaboration.

Previously published on Forbes, August 20, 2015

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