The value of a collision for a company, or for society, lies in the fact that innovation happens when people with different perspectives, cultures, or professions put their heads together. If you have enough of an open mind, incredible things can happen at that moment when two different people interact.
Paddy Cosgrave attributes the astounding growth of Collision (and their sister conference Web Summit) to their focus on details that make a difference. It’s the small things – like the length of the conference’s lanyards being comfortable when individuals bump into each other, so that they are not awkwardly staring at each other’s stomachs.
In focusing on what makes things work, he found that he shared a philosophy over the power of collision with Tony Hsieh (Zappos). Just as Cosgrave believes in the power of communities and conferences to bring people and ideas together, Hsieh believes in the necessity of collisions for the success of any functional community (be it natural like a rainforest, or constructed like a business).
Take a moment to think about the opportunities for collision in your own day.
- Do you sit behind your desk for 8 hours, focused solely on the screen in front of you? Perhaps you should start taking a walk once or twice a day, to encounter a new point of view. Not one of a co-worker, but of a stranger who may illuminate things in a new and exciting way.
- Do you work exclusively with the members of your speciality – or do you wander the office taking in the perspectives of people who are working towards the same goal (success for your organization) from a completely different angle?
Once you’ve started colliding with new individuals, open your mind to the value of conversing with them, of walking a mile in their shoes or seeing life through their eyes. It is in sharing with human beings completely different from ourselves that we can develop ideas and concepts to drive innovation and discovery.