The Importance of Collaboration

The Wikipedia Globe in Human Hands
Wikipedia, An inherantly collaborative project had been massivly beneficial to the spread of information worldwide. (Photo Credit: APS Observer)

I recently watched a video that had animated a speech given by Ken Robinson. He was speaking on the need to change the educational paradigm because our current educational system is hurting more than helping. However, one of his points was about collaboration. Today I want to look at the importance of collaboration for effective decision-making and creative ideas.

Collaboration has produced some of the greatest achievements in human history: The Wright brothers gave us flight, Bill Gates and Paul Allen began Microsoft in a dorm room. Even socially responsibly ice cream was a product of Ben and Jerry’s work together. In the professional world, the importance of collaboration should be a bigger focus.

A lot of research has been conducted on the value of collaboration. According to Cisco on average, companies see a 400% return on collaboration investments. As with most problems, it begins when we are children. Ken Robinson points out in his presentation about education that collaboration in schools isn’t just discouraged, it’s illicit. Working together to solve difficult problems is often labeled cheating and it can get you kicked out of many accredited institutions. Robinson explains that we need to recognize that as social mammals, our best learning happens in groups. By pulling us apart and testing us individually, we are isolating kids from their most effective learning environment and discouraging collaboration in the future.

Collaborative contributions to society are invaluable. It’s time we embrace the old adage, “two heads are better than one.