Swap team members, share knowledge, get better

Innovation is a function of chemistry, motivation and necessity. 

The best way to cultivate the right chemistry is through idea and knowledge sharing.  

I read today that brand super-power Procter and Gamble has teamed up with Google, to kindle innovation the old fashion way:  A corporate work study program.   

This is brilliant.  Take two companies in un-related fields, trade out a handful of team mates between them and encourage rule breaking.  The result?  Cross pollination of cultures, innovation habits and execution strategies.  In this case, there is no downside.  

I think this can work for any size business that wants to improve it's performance.  When you get your people back, they have a new view of the world and you have a batch of new friends at the other company.  

In my new book, Saving The World at Work, I talk about how Consorta sent some of their employees to The United Way.  

Here's a free sample from the book: Starting in 2002, Consorta, a group purchasing company that buys
supplies on behalf of hospitals, lent its purchasing expertise to United Way—a
good fit for Consorta because United Way has a presence in all of the cities
where Consorta does business.

[former] Consorta CEO John Strong says that, by sharing its
expertise with United Way, the company was able to help the organization save $7 million in the
first year alone significantly more money than Consorta could have handed
directly to the nonprofit.

Giving away intangibles such as knowledge or software creates a mutual
victory for company and community. Ask yourself what knowledge or technology
you could give a community organization. Also, what kind of helpful advice could you receive from that organization via the feedback loop?