Can collaboration solve society’s problems? Scania Expanded Horizons: Collaboration Round Table

Can collaboration solve society’s problems? Scania Expanded Horizons: Collaboration Round Table


When I joined the company I was like, to be honest, I’m not sure if this is
the kind of company I want to work for. SCANIA PRESENTS EXPANDED HORIZONS ROUND TABLES COLLABORATION With my own work, I’ve had a background
in education, in advertising, in tech, in the arts, and been able
to bring all of those together because it started by being able
to recognise patterns. What are the connections
between these different ways that I express myself? So, I could be an artist,
I could be an entrepreneur, I could be a car driver,
I’m all these different things, and looking for what’s the connection
of how I express myself, so what’s my story
and what’s my relationship? Then, because once I have
a better understanding of my own story within that environment, I can then have
a very personal relationship with the piece of technology. That’s why I like to say everything
in tech now is narrative design because you’re negotiating,
choosing your own nodes of relationship. You’re looking for the patterns, you’re looking to repeat that pattern, you’re figuring out the end-to-end story. But it starts with the individual, then
it goes into the bigger piece of culture. So, for me,
culture is collective storytelling. And it gets to the point of: how does my story fit into the cultures that I choose to find myself in
or I am already immersed in? What’s the gap between the story,
there’s the external stories, and the internal behaviour? And that’s when you start
on a very personal level, or an organisational level, to look at how can we start
to bridge some of those gaps. Because, when you do that, you then
start to bring in other perspectives and understanding of how
you can start to use the technologies, and I’m not just talking digital,
technology is a bigger concept than that, but how you can use those to change
the future and create the futures we want. I think you’re on to something because, I mean, that storytelling, -to me, that translates into purpose.
-Yeah. It translates into having a clarity, and then that makes
a collaborative environment attractive. If you have a strong purpose, -if you know why you’re doing things…
-Yeah. …then it’s easier for others
to interact with you. Yeah, statement of intention. Individuals and organisations need to be very clear: Where are we going?
Where are we heading? And I think we’ve come a long way in
figuring out that purpose and direction. Why are we doing things? And I think that’s attracting partners. That’s creating
that collaborative environment. But I also think, on the other hand, just thinking about identity
and collaboration, I think it forces us to have to know
who we are from the beginning, -which makes it hard.
-That’s not comfortable for some. Some people don’t give themselves
permission to go down that path, of actually looking at it. So you create a longer path to:
who am I, where do I want to go, where do I want to end, and who do I need in order for me to get
to where I want to be. In order to create the future,
we need to collaborate. One person or one company
cannot change the world, but everyone needs to collaborate
and find those partnerships. But also the win/win situations, everyone who’s collaborating needs to win,
that’s the tricky bit. When we talk about collaboration,
especially in tech, I think that we’re looking at
the collaboration of the technologies, so you can’t look at technology
in isolation anymore, but also the collaboration
of the people who are developing it. There needs to be a diversity of the
skill sets that are developing the tech, but also in terms of what’s the output, so, in the automotive industry, you should work with architects
and neuroscientists, I think that it needs to be
a bigger conversation. I’m not saying that’s easy, but I think that in the way
that we are moving forward, the way we need to move forward
in order to have a sustainable planet and sustainable businesses, I think that’s where we need
to start those conversations. The autonomous part that I’m working on,
that’s my day job, it’s not technology only. It means a shift in the way
transportation is being done, and it also means a major change in
the ecosystem and the business model side, which means there’s a lot of disciplines
that need to come together, not just autonomous technology, but, as you mentioned before,
the architects, the city planners, and the business side, et cetera. And all of those need to form
that collaborative environment, solving one common problem. What I’m seeing now is that
the different types of technology have become commoditised,
that everybody has access to them, everybody is a storyteller,
everybody is a designer. And so there seems to be
this groundswell of people looking for something bigger
than themselves. And my question is: how can we
harness this collective intelligence? You know, if we’re looking at religion, this divine intelligence
that comes from wherever to work together to try and change
and create the futures that we want -that are long-term.
-Yeah. I think that, you know, the brave, smart organisations
are the ones saying, “We don’t know. We’re going to put our money
where our mouth is and actually start to do some research
and ask questions and not think that we’ve only got the best
people internally in our organisation, we have to go outside and we have to ask
questions and we have to investigate.” Absolutely. I think that’s one of the
things that when I joined the company, I was like, to be honest I’m not sure this
is the kind of company I want to work for because I realised what does it do
to the climate and all that kind of stuff, but when you start realising
that I actually have a say and I can do something
to change the way we work, and also my passion is with people,
how can I empower more people? So, that’s one of the things
I get to work with, which I absolutely love now, and just using everyone’s talents
in the best possible way. And also realising that we have skill sets
that might be underutilised, so how can we use everyone
across the entire company to come up with new ideas that
will revolutionise the transport system, the entire society, essentially? That’s what we’re trying to do,
which is really fun. How can we sustainably use
every part of a person? Exactly! Every single part. That’s the interpersonal bit because we are empowering people by showing them that we trust and respect
and value their contribution, and that’s where innovation starts
to happen, from the bottom up. I think one key aspect is most people understand
why they started a typical job, but very seldom, even after 10 years, people don’t know why
they’re still doing that job. So, I think interacting
with everyone and saying, is this still OK for you? Is this still your dream? -Are you doing what you really want to do?
-Yeah. It’s helpful then when you have
an organisation that’s quite fluid in allowing people, not allowing,
enabling people to have a check-in
with themselves and say, “Is this still the place I want to be? Am I still working towards my own goals
and stories? And does that fit in?” And are the compasses, the personal
and the organisation’s compass, pointing in the same direction? But in an organisation of 52,000 people, how do you make those cultural decisions about whose voices get priority or whose consensus is ideal? How about… -This is a tricky one.
-Yeah, it is. -I think it starts with respect.
-Yeah. And then comes into democracy. I think we have a very strong foundation
in democracy, and the thinking that
everyone’s opinion is relevant, and we are equal, et cetera, I think that’s where it starts,
respect and democracy. There are so many different definitions
and understandings of what a democracy is, so, as a starting point, maybe it’s
working out what the lexicon is first, the language, the shared language and
the shared understanding of that language. Everyone might say the same word
with a different definition. It’s like the word “innovation”. I could ask you all what innovation means, and everybody would have
a different definition, but we’d all be,
“This is what I mean by it.” -I think it is starting…
-That common language is very important. What I really like is, Umair Haque
wrote The Betterness Manifesto, and I’ve worked with organisations helping them to write
a betterness manifesto, not just a vision statement,
because the betterness manifesto is: how are you going to make
the lives of your employees better? The lives of your customers?
How are you going to make society better? And everybody feels
a sense of connection to that. An article I read the other day
actually flipped that a little bit and said, rather than making a statement,
have a question. It’s a vision question. So everybody,
at every point of the day, thinks: How am I working towards this?
How am I working towards answering that? Because that’s where you
can start to have collaboration, because, as we alluded to earlier, we can’t solve things on our own
and so we need to be able to ask questions to help get to that point. And, for me,
I think that’s how I see collaboration. That shared goal, that shared vision, solving one problem or several problems, but it’s also a very creative process where everyone is contributing
with their various assets. It’s that process of co-creating that common solution to the problem, and making sure that everyone contributes and everyone feels part of the team. I think adding to that
is that it’s about an organisation that recognises human potential, so your measures of success
are not just commercial. It’s also about helping people recognise and strive for their potential,
personally and professionally, because then people feel
that they’ve got a vested interest and they are more likely to come together,
to want to try and collaborate. One of the things that I see in my work, working with start-ups and entrepreneurs, is exactly that, people are like,
“No, I’m not going to choose that company because they don’t care about me,
it’s all about the money”, which you totally understand. And I know a lot of organisations say
that, “Our biggest assets are our people.” They say that. Translate it into like,
will you actually do it? If you go back
to the core of the business, you need to make money, obviously, but how are you going to do that
if you don’t have the people? Yes, with a relationship to themselves, their story, their purpose. It all comes together. The profit is just the result. -Exactly.
-It starts with something different. It starts with the people,
it starts with the mission, it starts with something
that defines that company, et cetera, and then you get the profit as a result. The profit is not the target,
that’s the result.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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