It’s no surprise if we say that networking is a great way of expanding one’s business as well as gathering ideas. This is simply because when you meet other people, often times they will have an interest in what you are doing and sometimes, who knows, will have a need for your services or know someone who does. How often have you been to a party or a networking event and came back with a great new idea, all because you had a stimulating conversation with the right person? This is something that can happen fairly often. However, as good as these situations are, they don’t always happen all that frequently. This is the time when you may want to look into your organisation to replicate this same type of experience.
Despite what old school organisations would have you think, having chats with your colleagues, especially from other departments or even from other organisations in the same building, isn’t a waste of time and can be as useful as any other more traditional activities. This is the opinion of Alan Baxter, founder of the London engineering firm of the same name. As related on the FT newspaper:
“Mr Baxter’s approach has been beneficial and he says he cannot think of any downsides to it. By broadening the interests and knowledge of his employees, and by encouraging connections with a like-minded community, the firm draws on an unusually large body of information and expertise. “We have very valuable interaction with our lodgers,” he says. “Sometimes we work with them on projects, sometimes we’re competing with them but that doesn’t matter,” he adds, explaining that there is enough work to go round.”
“Money is the necessary oil for the machine but the most important thing is ideas and interaction.”
This goes to show how important exchanging ideas can be for a business. Having conversations, sharing knowledge and information help stimulate creativity and it should be encouraged face-to-face or online. By encouraging your employees to interact, and providing space for them to do so, you are more likely to reap the benefits of these interactions. If then you are able to actually capture and structure these ideas, you will be in a position of advantage, as you will be partaking on the wisdom of the crowd.