Oct 23 / Academic Director

The Collaborative Economy

Jobs in the past that were related to manufacturing did not  involve a great deal of autonomy. Workers would complete repetitive tasks on assembly lines that created automobiles, home appliances and other physical products. Each individual worker would perform the same task over and over with little need to collaborate with others. Mirroring this, our schools were organized on a factory model - we educate our students in batches by date of production, dress theme in uniforms, and teach a uniform curriculum.

Today’s economy is entirely different. Work in the digital economy requires teams made up of members who bring different skills and abilities to challenging projects. These team members are sometimes spread around the globe, and effective collaboration skills are always essential.

Collaboration is what allows these teams to create effective solutions to complex problems.Author James Surowiecki explains why collaboration is so effective in his writings on the “wisdom of crowds.” His theory is that groups are far more intelligent than individuals, because no one individual can possibly replicate all of the knowledge and life experiences present in a larger group. He writes that the new economy demands collaboration because “groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.” He adds that “a large group of diverse individuals will come up with better and more robust forecasts and make more intelligent decisions than even the most skilled ‘decision maker.’

Early collaboration experiences help students learn to accommodate various work styles, work ethics and personalities — which are essential in the modern and collaborative workplace. Just go visit the Google or Facebook campus if you want proof.

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