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The Collaboration Pyramid

The common perception of collaboration only scratches the surface. Most of what makes a good collaboration are hidden underneath, like an iceberg submerged with only the tip protruding. Thus, the concept of The Collaboration Pyramid hopes to identify and explore the depth of the elements below the surface.

What we usually think of when we think about collaboration could be simplified into 3 steps: forming a team, planning and coordinating the tasks among the members, acting out the plans according to the assigned tasks and hopefully reach the shared goal.

What we don’t perceive, recognise and therefore value are the activities that allow the team to even form in the first place, that help them throughout the journey as a team. This hidden component involves how a team member has utlised their own resources (skills, knowledge, network) to contribute to the team.

This pyramid from Oscar Berg illustrates the hidden Iayers that are not obvious to us. They consist of:

  • Allowing people to get to know each other, build relationships, and understand how each member can contribute through activities like team building
  • The direct and indirect contribution from people outside the team – by the extended team, stakeholders and external contributors
  • The relationship and sense of community that make team members trust each other and have a shared purpose
    The efforts of gaining the workspace awareness that is necessary for making the right decisions in any collaborative effort
  • These points should be brought above the surface so people could be aware of and consider them in the process of working together. In order for us to improve the efficacy of collaborative efforts, we need to better support these layers.

And of course, the first step towards improving these layers of collaboration is to recognise their existence and value.

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