Best of 2015, first published on February 15, 2015
We just had our first “biggest blizzard in years” yesterday. While it ended up with a modest total amount of snow it did create traffic snarls and many accidents for those working this week. I had the luxury of time off and was able to enjoy the beauty of the snow falling and look forward to skiing. That reminded me of this post that highlighted the value of messiness and collisions! Enjoy. –Todd Thorsgaard
And the answer is?? Planned accidental collisions!
We had a freezing rain and snow “event” yesterday and cars were slipping and sliding into each other by the hundreds. Not a pretty sight but actually a great metaphor for building effective teams. In fact both urban planners and highly successful leaders have been promoting the idea that density and unplanned interactions, or “collisions” can spark creativity and help build an engaged culture at work.
The main idea is that “running” into other people, sharing ideas, asking questions, and listening to what they are working on stimulates our brains and opens us up to more possibilities.
Leaders can make changes in the physical work space and the processes a team uses to facilitate these creative accidental collisions. The department I work in has created an informal work space. Several times while I was using it a colleague has ask me what I was working on and then shared some ideas I had not thought of.
Other ideas you can try to foster “accidental collisions” include:
- scheduling work and share times where people talk about their projects and others are encouraged to share ideas
- rotating project team members on a regular basis
- encouraging people to participate in cross-functional projects
- inviting representatives from other departments to participate on project teams
- support participation in professional organizations and interest groups