Swap team members, share knowledge, get better
Posted on November 19, 2008
Innovation is a function of chemistry, motivation and necessity.
The best way to cultivate the right chemistry is through idea and knowledge sharing.
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?