Lunchtime Links: Make Your Office a Place to Collaborate

Why office design matters, and how to promote collaboration among your staff. Also: Use social listening to satisfy your members.

How do friendships form? If decades-old research from three MIT social scientists is any indication, sharing the same physical space with your coworkers on a daily basis is a good place to start.

How two of America’s most successful companies have adopted this thinking to promote collaboration in the workplace, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Collaboration design: During the late 1940s, three social scientists conducted research on the formation of friendships. They discovered that the success of personal relationships is heavily influenced by how often people see and interact with each other, even if it’s by default because they are neighbors or coworkers. Writing for, New York Times best-selling author Adam Alter explains how Google and Pixar integrated this thinking into workplace design to promote friendship and collaboration among coworkers. “People with similar attitudes are more likely to get along, those with diverse backgrounds are more likely to generate novel ideas, but none of those interactions exist without the primary ingredient of casual encounters and unexpected conversations,” Alter writes. Have you thought about ways to incorporate more collaborative space in your office?

Social listening: Brandon Rhoten, director of digital marketing for the ‪ Wendy’s fast-food chain, attributes much of the company’s marketing success to its social listening prowess. Recent efforts to promote the restaurant’s $1 value menu are one example. “To encourage tweeting about value-menu items, the brand asked social media fans to give these items different names—a move that marketing people always resist. After that, the brand saw a lot more customers buying off of the value menu,” Rhoten says. Read more about how Wendy’s uses social listening on SmartBlog on Social Media.

What kind of innovator are you?  Famed Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen says that there are largely two kinds of innovations in this world: disruptive innovations, which define and redefine new markets; and sustaining innovations, which refine and improve upon existing products to achieve higher market share. Writing for Harvard Business Review, editorial director Justin Fox discusses Apple’s struggle to define itself in the “post-Steve Jobs” era. While the company has produced several sustaining innovations in recent years (think MacBook Air), it has produced notably fewer disruptive innovations (think iPhone and iPod/iTunes), leading critics to question whether it has lost the innovative spirit it was once famous for under Jobs. What kind of innovator are you?

What are you reading today? Let us know in the comments.


Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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