Companies Looking to Increase Innovation and Collaboration Should Create Spaces That Encourage Chance Meetings, Find the Edge Expert Says

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Paul Corney, a knowledge management expert, says creating a space where employees can collaborate will yield many benefits for employers in a Find the Edge article published today.

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It’s not a new idea. I’ve been banging on about the concept of orchestrated serendipity for many decades.

Paul Corney believes creating 'orchestrated serendipity' is key to fostering an innovative and collaborative workplace environment.

He uses a new Find the Edge article to discuss the benefits of encouraging chance meetings between employees, and to describe some of the projects he's personally involved with in the past.

One example, from when he worked in Saudi Arabia, illustrates how meeting spaces should be designed on a bespoke basis, based on observations of the culture within each organisation.

He said: 'While working in Jeddah in 2006, I observed some interesting cultural nuances: greetings were warm and heartfelt – especially post prayers – so the lift became an important meeting area.

'Since many institutions in Saudi Arabia observe the ritual of prayers at least twice during the working day, the passage of worshippers to and from the onsite mosque is where many interactions take place.

'To orchestrate serendipity, we sited informal coffee areas and breakout rooms on each floor next to the lifts or on the way from the mosque.'

He also discusses the idea that people are more creative when they collaborate.

He quotes Yahoo! boss Marissa Mayar, who recently said: 'People are more productive when they’re alone… but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.'

Corney said: "It’s not a new idea. I’ve been banging on about the concept of orchestrated serendipity for many decades."

He does urge some caution, however: "Despite what surveys say, and the metrics used to justify investment, to a large extent this is still something of a leap of faith."

The article can be read in full here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/innovation/managing-creativity/why-space-matters-for-collaboration-innovation-and-knowledge-transfer.

Paul Corney is an adviser, knowledge management practitioner, and business coach. He has been working across various industries, in multiple exotic locations, for almost 40 years. More information about him can be found here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/expert-panelist/paul-corney.

Kenny Goodman, founder of Find the Edge, said: "It's easy to underestimate how important the design of your building is. Paul is an expert in these matters, and something as simple as serving great coffee in one location can make all the difference to the innovation levels within the company.

"I recently conducted a fascinating interview with Paul, which can also be found on the website."

Find the Edge is a business website, which features new content on a daily basis written by some of the world's leading business experts.

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Kenny Goodman
Find the Edge
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