The collaborative organisation: how to make employee networks really work

Recent and topical research by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that the traditional methods for driving operational excellence in global organisations are not enough. The most effective organisations make smart use of employee networks to reduce costs, improve efficiency and spur innovation.

The research found that the key to delivering both operational excellence and innovation is having networks of informal collaboration. Innovative solutions often emerge unpredictably through informal and unplanned interactions between individuals who see problems from different perspectives.  These networks often help employees handle situations that don’t fit into pre-established processes and structures.

Business leaders and CIOs who learn to harness and balance both formal and informal structures are better equipped to create more efficient and innovative organisations. When working to capitalise on these networks, business leaders and CIOs need to let go of some traditional management methods and adopt collaborative management models.

The MIT Sloan Management Review offered the following advice for companies trying to build more collaborative and innovative organisations:

  • Executives should analyse employee contribution networks to discover how high-performing individuals and teams connect.
  • Networks should be designed to optimise the flow of good ideas across function, distance and technical specialty.
  • Network analysis can show where too much connectivity slows decision making.
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