How does 3M consistently churn out technological breakthroughs? BusinessWeek asks the question in this week’s “How to Innovate” feature and concludes that it’s the collaboration, stupid.
Getting employees to collaborate doesn’t happen by accident. 3M has a series of organizational systems in place meant to encourage collaboration.
One of the most important is social networking, both online and face to face. The company has an internal site that’s like a “LinkedIn for 3M scientists.” It also has employee-run speaker events that serve as a mixer for researchers from various divisions of the company.
3M also famously encourages creativity by allowing employees to dedicate 15 percent of their time to projects of their own choosing, regardless whether they fall under their regular work focus.