Boiled down to its very essence, collaboration can be defined as a TEAM engaging in TASKS to reach shared TARGETS. It's one of those buzzwords that's been overused, with every software startup spouting it in marketing collateral, pitch decks, and social media channels. But the reason why it's a staple in conversations is because, without it, an organization sabotages its own success.

Companies must learn to capitalize on opportunities to collaborate for two reasons:

1. Internal collaboration increases productivity
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, implementing collaborative processes and networking tools improved productivity by 20-30% in global software development teams. And California chipmaker Xilinx reported a 25% increase in engineer productivity by using tools that encouraged peer-to-peer collaboration.

In short: when internal teams use tools that make work processes and communication more efficient, goals are met faster and with higher quality results.

2. External collaboration accelerates innovation
External collaboration refers to your work with customers, partners, and vendors — the ones whom your project and your product directly affect. And if you are able to work with these stakeholders and leverage their feedback into your product development process, then there will be better alignment between the customer's actual needs and your product's features.

Therefore, it's important to use every channel available to collaborate externally: your website, social media channels, webinars, user forums, focus group discussions, conferences, meetups, and more. Then act on constructive feedback get the best results for your company.

Collaborate to Win - Why Every Company Needs a Culture of Collaboration

Building a Naturally Collaborative Company Culture

When a company has put in effort to build a culture of collaboration, it becomes second nature to communicate with both internal teams and external stakeholders. And it is this kind of collaboration that helps companies break through boundaries and produce cutting-edge innovations that solve real-world problems. Invest in your teams' collaboration with team building days, virtual icebreaker games and peer recognition programs.

Use the Right Tools for Collaboration

Building a culture of collaboration in your own company is hard enough without placing extra barriers in your way. If you're still hoping to collaborate on projects using email and spreadsheets, it becomes almost impossible. Email and spreadsheets are inefficient for the kind of collaborative communication we're used to in our social world.

For help finding a better way to work, download our free eBook:
It’s Not Me, It’s You: Why Managers Need to Break Up with Email and Spreadsheets

Top image credits: Taking in the View by Nana B. Agyei. | Some rights reserved