Published on February 15th, 2018 | by Emergent Enterprise0
What Snowstorms Can Teach Us About Collaboration
Jahmal Cole had an idea. In February of 2018, Chicago had been slammed with a snowstorm – not a surprise – and because he was a community organizer in his neighborhood of Chatham he was getting calls from seniors who needed their walks shoveled. Then came the idea. Jahmal posted a tweet the evening of the storm that read, “Chicago, I need (10) volunteers to help me shovel for seniors tomorrow. I’m getting too many emails from elderly folks that need help. Meet me at the 79th St. Red Line stop at 10:00 am tomorrow. I got hoodies, hats and lunch for anybody that comes through.” He was thinking big and thought maybe he could even get 15 volunteers. The next morning 120 willing workers arrived. Many walks and driveways were cleared, many senior citizens in Jahmal’s neighborhood were happy and the power of community and collaboration was shown in a powerful way.
Businesses are constantly delivering information to employees or customers and strive to effectively engage users. Making collaboration a component for any deliverable can result in clicks, comments and activity. Why are end users attracted to collaboration? Here are a few reasons:
- People want to have ownership in an effort in which they support. It might be solving a problem, answering a call for ideas or volunteering to help a cause. They like to know their opinion is valued and that they will be heard. It feels good to contribute.
- People need to be pointed in the right direction. Once users, customers or learners can see an activity in which they can effectively contribute, they are likely to participate. All they need is a clear call to action. Jahmal said when and where to show up and what the goal was. That was enough said.
- People like to be seen in a good light. Truth be told, not all participation is altruistic. Collaboration almost always requires the user or volunteer to identify themselves and if their contribution can be seen by all the members of the community that’s a plus. Who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight when they are doing something for the betterment of the people around them?
How did one simple tweet cause so many people to act (not to mention the 22,000 retweets)? The need was stated clearly, the call to action was uncomplicated and the goal was easy to support. Upon seeing the tweet, people changed their plans, threw away their schedules and made their snow shoveling contributions a priority over all else. Why? Because there is power in collaboration and community.