Collaboration at a higher scale

March 21, 2017

At a time when collaboration is at its most complex, Australia’s thought leaders pinpoint the nuts and bolts of fruitful partnerships.

collaboration

Collaboration is a simple idea. You can teach it to a child: ask a child to share something and soon enough they will. Although they may initially react by turning away or looking down, given enough impetus they’re soon leaping around enjoying the benefits and challenges of shared play.

Scale it up to groups, organisations, industries, and academia, and it can seem complex. Industry has a commercial imperative; traditionally researchers sought more lofty goals or truths. Both universities and industry want to protect their IP. Working out the details is a legal wrangle; ensuring a shared vision when you don’t share the same location is a constant gamble.

Successful collaborations must have some form of flexibility or adaptability, yet large organisations can be slow in moving together, and in moving forward.

Technology has shifted the pace, as well as the level of expectation in terms of team collaboration. Tech companies have collaboration in their DNA, and cloud technology and automation are driving us faster towards collaborating closely – often with people we have never physically met.

Our level of trust is changing, and is threatened by a jumpy global attitude towards people who are different from us, and the prevalence in our lives of internet connected devices. Yet as the Hon Philip Dalidakis MP points out, cybersecurity is a collaboration opportunity as much as it is a shared risk.

To remain relevant, to keep pace in this shifting landscape – to compete in a global marketplace and as part of the world’s fast-moving network of research that forms the global brains trust – that will not happen unless we dramatically shift our perspective.

Technology has tethered us to the world and taken away the scourge of distance. Suddenly we’re accessible as a country in a way we have never been before.

Collaboration opens up opportunities as well as presenting challenges. It has long been happening at the level of individuals, as people from industry, research, community and government form alliances of interests. Our challenge is now to upscale. And it’s a tough one.

We may not have the same processes and infrastructure as other countries in developing the impetus to push our burden of change, Sisyphus-style, up this mountain.  But as these thought leaders demonstrate, we are taking some great strides – and are at least like the reluctant child, now looking up towards the benefits of collaboration. 

collaboration

Heather Catchpole

Head of Content, Refraction Media

Read next: Jan Janssen, Senior Vice President of Design & Development at Cochlear, takes a look at multidisciplinary collaboration that underpins the world’s most sophisticated solutions.

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More Thought Leaders: Click here to go back to the Thought Leadership Series homepage, or start reading the Digital Disruption Thought Leadership Series here.

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  1. What about the ones from CSIRO who lost their jobs leading up to the discovery of the result that may be due to gravity waves? They seem to be conveniently omitted….don’t we recognize people anymore because they have been sacked/shafted/deleted/terminated/expunged/retrenched?
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/csiro-hailed-contribution-to-gravitation-waves-find–for-work-done-by-axed-unit-20160214-gmtmhu.html
    This is happening too often.

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