When you need to innovate, you need collaboration. – Marissa Mayer
Last year I learnt a huge lesson about synergy – the power of collaboration. It made work that would have taken me months or possibly years to achieve possible in next to no time. As a scientist and an engineer, fortunately collaboration is second nature to me. As any scientist worth his/her salt knows, there is awesome power in effective symbiosis!
Don’t let the hype fool you, majority of the significant contributions in the last century and beyond have involved teamwork. This cuts across disciplines; whether you’re a doctor, entrepreneur, scientist or educator. It is a standard now in most professions to have moved beyond the individual craftsman to delivery in teams.
The software we all use are usually developed by teams because research has proven that groups create innovation faster, grasp mistakes quicker and discover superior solutions to difficulties. Studies also show that people working in teams accomplish greater results and better job satisfaction.
Collaboration is crucial to successful teams and projects. It is the result of an intentional design of culture, structure, and the cultivation of individual mindsets and skill sets.
● Culture: We embrace diversity and all voices are appreciated;
● Structure: Working in networked teams with clear roles and expectations;
● Mindset: Social awareness, self-responsibility, interpersonal skills;
● Skill set: Adding value to the group and design thinking.
These days when I work with our young people or train their teachers, I reiterate the need to emphasise that the world is a project-based world, where much of the work is done on projects and in teams. My idea of future-readiness for our students is to emphasise high-quality project-based learning, where students are given tasks and made to create solutions.
Why I love collaboration a lot is that is enforces a spirit of community; you have to be both aware of the needs of others and yourself. It also teaches students self-responsibility, as stated above. It becomes more enriching when they work on integrated projects across academic content areas.
Just picture students who have been taught to imbibe collaboration well, and the sort of leaders, employees, innovators, scientists, public servants etc. our society would have. I bet it would be a much better society where we work together to fabricate a nation that is economically prosperous and befitting to all of us.
Tips on building collaboration in our students:
Remember that it is all of our jobs to raise the citizens of tomorrow in our nation. More than ever, to turn the current status quo in Nigeria, it is highly important to learn and encourage collaboration;
Make collaboration a common value. Make it clear that diversity is valued and that everyone’s voice should be heard;
● Allocate tasks that foster collaboration. Team projects require collaboration;
● Teach collaboration skills. Teach design thinking, and team communication skills;
● Provide collaboration tools. Create access to project management and communication tools;
● Encourage collaborative feedback. Work improves with collaboration and the feedback received on tasks.
Together Everyone Achieves More is what TEAM stands for and this is a value that will lift us all.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.