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On collaboration, or why two heads are better than one

We live in an increasingly connected world. Globalisation, technology and travel bring us closer together. But do we take these connections to work? Or do we see success as an individual pursuit? In this post, we explore why working together is a necessity of 21st century life.

Photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI on Unsplash

In 1959, Isaac Asimov, author and biochemist, wrote a letter to a group of researchers working on new approaches to missile defence. The essay focused on creativity – and how to encourage creativity amongst the group. His suggestion? Collaboration. In Asimov’s view, two heads can certainly be better than one. Quoting from this letter, published in full in the MIT technology review:

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea… Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another the unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

For Asimov, creativity was a solitary process. But he clearly recognised the power of bringing people together, to share their ideas and, potentially, to generate new ones, drawing on different permutations that can result from combining knowledge, experience and skills.

This collaborative approach to solving problems is yet more important today. The world is increasingly being characterised as VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. Global challenges – like poverty, inequality, disease, climate and security – can only be solved when different people, with different areas of expertise, are brought together. And new technologies facilitate the process, with platforms like OpenIDEO creating space for diverse minds to work on solutions for pressing issues.

At Lucidity, we recognise how powerful collaborative working can be. Very rarely will the solution to a strategic challenge or business process lie with one person. We will work with you to identify key partners in an issue, and make the time to engage them in the process, so that the solution is derived from a collective effort. The benefits are tangible – more ideas leading to a more rounded outcome, a shared ownership of the solution driving implementation, and, perhaps most importantly, a heightened engagement from your staff as they see their ideas being put into practice.

If you have a business challenge that would benefit from such an approach, then please do get in touch. We’d be delighted to work with you.


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