Sparking serendipity. Would it work for your company?


When Marissa Mayer called her Yahoo employees in from the field, she caused quite a stir. But perhaps the controversial CEO had more than productivity in mind….

Between tele-commuting and the “me” driven social media, many companies are finding a need to encourage and maximize employee interaction, particularly within the creative fields. Google is working to put employees in closer physical proximity of one another, as is shoe retailer-giant, Zappos. Even NPR has figured out a low cost way to enforce this culture  by holding “Serendipity Days,” in which about 50 employees from different departments, including digital, engineering, HR and news, volunteer to come together and think of new ideas and projects over a two-day period.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Emma Silverman recently reported on the idea:

Companies aren’t leaving serendipity to chance.

Firms are thinking up new ways to encourage interactions among employees who normally don’t work with each other. The hope is that these casual face-to-face chats among people with different skills might spark new ideas, lead to new solutions or at the least, increase workplace camaraderie.

Think this is what companies have been doing for decades? Keep thinking. These concepts are beyond what water-cooler and break room conversations can offer. These businesses are using hard data to create environments that will do far more than create a satisfactory climate in the workplace — it will produce high-quality work as a result.

Whether or not these ideas heed long-term results remain to be seen, but if stimulating employees to be more social, collaborative and productive is as simple as having a little more fun and a lot more interaction, it sounds like a win-win to me.

 

Image via hemblawg.com


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