There is no disputing that smarter, resourceful, nimble teams are invaluable capital for creating competitive advantage in today’s fast-moving, ever-changing marketplace. And while improved data management systems and project management are critical to achieving this, the big bet companies are making is that the holy grail of effective collaboration is achieved by deploying applications that streamline communications and bring employees closer together.
So why are these companies still having a hard time making teams more collaborative?
We think it’s because effective collaboration isn’t a communication problem.
It’s a knowledge organization problem.
Companies are filled with more knowledge than ever before. But it's scattered and filed all over the organization; in emails folders, attachments, filing structures, or buried in chats that don’t discern the critical from the unimportant. So at the moment where a piece of additional knowledge might help us, it's too hard to find. Or worse, we forget it even exists.
Then we all go back to our corners and get to work individually on what we know; what we're comfortable with, weakening the collaboration process if it was ever happening at all. And those that aren’t on the same page disengage, don’t seek to contribute and focus on just doing things themselves. Wheels are constantly being reinvented and ultimately, time and opportunity is lost.
And then we're wondering why things aren't moving any faster.
Make no mistake—effective communication is important. But the fact is, real innovation and forward progress occurs when critical knowledge is activated in such a way that teams can organically collaborate around it and quickly transform it into something of value.
That means putting knowledge at the center of the team.
Let’s take a look at what is considered the most collaborative organization on the planet, the beehive. Focusing on only what’s essential—nectar—thousands of bees leave the hive everyday for far-reaching points to retrieve their bounty. Upon returning, the bees organize around this critical asset; working, communicating, and efficiently creating something of significant value to the hive—honey. So efficient is this collaboration that in a given season, 10 pounds of bees, flying 1.6 million miles and visiting 60 million flowers can create on average 30 pounds of honey.
So how does this example apply to teams in the corporate world?
By embracing the idea that knowledge is the nectar of innovation and progress.
Every pound of honey begins with a single drop of nectar built upon and over time. And as such, every transformative idea begins with a single piece of knowledge, built up over time.
But only if you put it in the right place.
This phenomenal, naturally occurring example of collaboration is precisely the inspiration that led our founders to create TipHive, a simple, but powerful knowledge activation platform that transforms the speed, intelligence and productivity of the team.
Like a beehive, the concept is simple yet powerfully productive:
Team members create, curate or receive knowledge that is critical to achieving an objective.
That knowledge is immediately activated in the appropriate hive
The teammates of that hive organize around the knowledge and begin to collaborate, share, comment and build upon it until the knowledge is transformed into an asset that moves the company forward.
Fast, efficient and frictionless collaboration that increases the speed of business, perpetually. As new opportunities arise; as situations evolve, the hive grows and ultimately, becomes stronger simply because existing knowledge can be leveraged immediately toward new goals because it has remained in an accessible place--From the center of the team.
Simple concept yes. But ensuring teams actually behave more like a Hive means more than just understanding the concept, but also recognizing and removing the barriers that keep collaboration from happening organically.
TipHive has done just that.
First, content structure is virtually unlimited. Three sentences worth of insight. A full page formatted article. Links, videos, audio files. Anything. Once you’ve identified as important to the hive, simply activate it so the team can get to work.
Second, the approach to content organization is flexible. So many systems have rules about what type of information goes where. The problem with that is, no two people organize information the same way. Knowledge should be activated based on its context, not rules of process.
Third, audiences are infinitely customizable. What drives all aspects of a beehive’s activity, is the understanding of who needs what, as that guides what each worker bee will do at every instance. It should be the same in the workplace. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything, just what is relevant to them. Maybe it’s one person that needs to get another's POV. Maybe it’s a subgroup that you want to contribute first. Maybe new people need to be brought into the hive when others have moved on. You activate the knowledge, you manage the relevant team in real time.
Those three things, if you think about it, really just boil down to giving teams control, being honest and then allowing those individuals to work together to solve problems.
The Tiphive platform was created so that success can happen seamlessly, and effectively.
And the possibilities and opportunities are, well, endless.
What one support consultant learns on the phone today can be understood by all consultants in minutes. What one sales rep did wrong in this morning's sales presentation, is corrected in everyone's presentation by noon. The proposal that helped close one deal becomes the starting point for similar opportunities in the future. A product spec is flashed out in a fraction of the time, leveraging the entire team's experience and creativity. A marketing campaign is perfected through rapid iterations that fine tune content, tools, targets, data and channels. Customer feedback reaches all the right people in hours and days, not months.
And the business thrives. That's the power of knowledge activation. That's a Hive in action.