By Annabelle Chalker
ICW Australia has worked hard to establish itself in Australia, after taking guidance from our UK counterparts on how to engage on the business discipline of collaborative working. ICW Australia officially launched in August – a challenging time to start anything new, as most of Australia was in lockdown. Since then, the team has been working to bring together courses and webinars and to build our community of practice.
A key milestone was recently running our first public course: an introduction to the principles we are so passionate about, and the international standards that back them up.
What did the course cover?
One of our directors, Joshua Choong, presented ‘Introduction to Collaborative Working and ISO 44001’ virtually on 24 November 2021, covering the principles of collaborative working, the research into why it works and how it keeps people at the center of business. Joshua also touched on the research that proves it is effective when applied in a structured, systemic way.
An introduction was provided by ICW Australia’s Managing Director, Brett Ackroyd, who explained collaborative working as a business discipline that puts human beings and their behaviours in the centre of organisations and works out from that centre to derive greater value through collaboration, and people working together. Collaborative work covers both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ systems (hard systems being processes, contracts, business measures, accounting systems etc, and soft systems covering behaviours and values). By putting these two things together and keeping people at the centre of a business, they can work effectively together, derive common benefit and deliver common goals.
The concept of collaborative working is reflected in the international standard, IS044001, which Joshua also summarised. ISO 44001 provides detail on how collaborative working can be measured, assessed and assured – and provides the tools and concepts used to build a collaborative framework.
What are the benefits of Collaborative Working?
Every collaboration is as unique as the people involved in it – the function of the tools and the standard is not to make them identical, but to provide a common framework and language for it so value can be derived. However, the benefits follow a similar theme.
Joshua covered the full suite of benefits identified through research done by the Warwick University and others on the benefits of collaborative working.
(This study can be read in full on our website: Understanding the psychology of collaboration: what makes an effective collaborator?)
Joshua also provided case studies of businesses that have used collaborative working successfully, including:
· British Antarctic Survey – used collaborative working for more effective problem solving at their Antarctic Research stations
· Network Rail Corporation – used collaborative working for greater customer satisfaction, during the Hitchin Bypass project – a 24 month programme that was delivered in 20 months through an alliance team
· NATS – introduced a new way of separating arriving aircraft at Heathrow Airport by time instead of distance, in order to cut delays by strong winds. Traditionally, air traffic controllers’ separate flights by set distances depending on aircraft type and the size of the spiraling air turbulence, or wake vortex, they create as they fly. Using collaborative working to better organize this complex project, they improved their business performance.
The presentation also went into the ‘Myths, Magic and Monsters’ of collaborative work – namely, what positive or negative perceptions are out there, and whether or not they reflect reality. There was discussion on how COVID has changed the way we work together as teams - and proved that collaborations can take as many forms as effective work does: remotely or a mixed approach to being in the office, given the virtual meeting tools now available to us.
Keep an eye out for our further courses and other upcoming offerings on the ICW Australia Events page.
Want to know how collaborative working can improve your business outcomes? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or to have a chat with our specialists on developing a program for you.
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