Three tips to improve collaboration

Any startup or entrepreneur will understand the necessity of collaboration. Both online and offline, communication and exchanging knowledge is imperative to create a successful product or service. Collaboration, however, doesn’t always come easy. Here are three tips that startups and entrepreneurs should follow to promote meaningful collaboration.

1. Use effective management tools

Successful collaboration happens when all members know who is doing what, and what needs to be done when. Being able to share media-rich information quickly and easily is imperative.

To achieve this, create a structured innovation process on a platform, such as Podio, enabling team members to communicate remotely, in real time. Simplifying connectivity means all members are on the same page, and can propose ideas or complete tasks without any overlap, saving time and potential frustration.

Within your management structure, make sure that tasks are effectively prioritized. We’ve all worked with colleagues who spend hours on things that can probably wait. Especially when not working alongside one another, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose touch of what others are working on. Using an organisational tool will ensure everyone knows who is assigned to what, who needs help, and the time needed to complete a task.

Such a tool also makes sure every collaborator knows their main roles and responsibilities, and those of others working on the project. When other team members encounter a hurdle, no one else’s time is wasted by sifting through queries that do not concern them.

2. Provide ongoing opportunities for skills development

True and successful collaboration only occurs when each contributor feels they have the opportunity to grow and can offer something to the group, regardless of their level or background. When using online management tools, schedule in some time for skills-sharing sessions and workshops, both internal and external. These opportunities will help to naturally establish roles and mentors amongst collaborators.

3. Work in a collaborative environment

Good ideas come from everywhere, so engage as many people about your project as possible. Working in a collaborative and open environment like a coworking space immediately connects you with a community of talented individuals with whom you can discuss your projects, receive feedback, and ask questions.
Becoming a member of a coworking community opens up your business and social networks, an indispensable part of creating a successful product or service. It also means a wider pool of trusted people you can draw from to help in the innovation and creation phases of your project. Coworking spaces also host regular networking events and workshops, allowing members to meet the wider community. These factors combine to create an environment which encourages collaboration and sharing: 80% of coworkers reported an increase in business networks since joining a space, and 74% have higher productivity levels.

The number of coworking spaces is skyrocketing – and big companies – the likes of Google, Deloitte and Microsoft – are beginning to view them as the new go-to places for talent and innovative ideas. What’s more, they’re significantly cheaper than traditional office space, so you can reap the advantages – including appearing more professional – without the high cost.

What are you doing to improve collaboration? Are you working from a co-working space?