Teams are they more innovative and fun

Thank goodness for Leigh and his ability to keep us updated with the latest developments. The BBC interview where Peter Day talks to Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School was very interesting. Prof Gratton believes that good teamwork is what will make companies successful in the 21st century.

I like the ideas they were discussing e.g ignite teams with "big questions" to explore and solve - innovative teams are where there is a small core of people and "volunteers" come in because they are passionate about the project. Hence a team leader's role becomes not so much to direct and choose and but to inspire. The ability to cooperate is the most important characteristic for people to have in modern times so they can work collaboratively in teams. The focus is on the good of the team not on the individual's needs. Also the ability to be able to make connections with others, locally and globally. Graduates with these attributes are highly sought after in big companies.

People in a business if left to their own devices will sign up to project teams which excite and inspire them. eg. Google. Innovation is created when people who are very different share their ideas and they often do not agree with each other but they can cooperate.

So perhaps the idea of the teams and committees we have in the poly may not be the best for cohesion and for spreading the passion eg. the quality in teaching team was chosen - perhaps if people were invited to join and did so because of their passion about quality in teaching and learning, a very different mix would have been created, perhaps a more innovative (no offence meant here) combination may have been achieved. Having "experts" or higher levels of staff on a team is not necessarily more productive and effective - you need people to challenge because they have a different perspective.

Big teams can be very productive and everyone has the chance to shine. Gender and ethnicity mixed teams are much more productive. Some of the examples discussed were interesting such as Google, Nokia, BP and a Scottish bank. If they can do it surely we can as well.

One of the things which made my job in eLearning more exciting in the early days was the collaborative projects and networks I was involved in. Being able to have the freedom and autonomy to choose projects means I can be part of several teams, and I have learned so much from working collaboratively. The networked learning team is an excellent example of a collaborative association where ideas are discussed and shared, and people join because they are passionate about the area and want to develop resources to share with students and staff alike.

Now we have the Digital Information Literacy project and collaboration across Otago Polytechnic, Manukau Institute of Technology, University of Otago and Massey University. Watch this space for the project wiki page - it will be appearing soon.