A maze of challenges

23 June 2017

A maze of challenges image

As Richard Ayoade steps into the Crystal Maze tonight, we take a look at how the Henley Forum is also playing participants against the clock, but in The Collaboration Maze.

Success requires collaboration, which in some organisations can be as elusive as the gold tokens in the Crystal Dome.

In today’s complex business world, collaboration is essential. It’s no longer possible for one person, one team, or even one organisation to succeed on their own. Achieving goals, especially change goals, means actively working together.

It means building productive working relationships with people from different teams, functions, geographies and levels in the hierarchy. And that’s not easy. People’s different goals and perspectives are useful, but they also make it challenging to build and sustain productive partnerships that meet everyone’s goals.

So how can you do it?

A Henley Forum action research project with 10 large organisations took this real life challenge seriously. Participants worked over many months to Find the right partners, to Form productive working relationships, and - crucially - to Perform to meet their goals[i].

We learned a great deal along the way about what helps and hinders that process. One thing everyone agreed on, however, was that developing partnerships for change is like a navigating a maze. You can’t see the whole thing, there are dead ends and it’s easy to get stuck. And, remember, in a changing organisation, the maze itself keeps on changing…

The Collaboration Maze takes the findings from our research, adds some insights from gamification and storytelling to develop a business board game with serious intent that’s fun to play. Up to 6 players work against the clock to escape through the revolving door. Fail to get everyone out and the whole team loses.

Over 40 minutes, players learn how to navigate the maze. They make real-time decisions and find ways of working with other players to achieve the goal. Like real-life, sometimes they get a helping hand and sometimes things stack up against them. Our research-based insights are built into all the cards. So, in the reflection period that follows the game there’s an opportunity to learn from the game experience AND from the game’s contents.

The Collaboration Maze has been extensively tested in different organisations – including law firms, not-for-profits, international organisations and government agencies. It’s been used successfully to kick-off projects, in team meetings and at conferences.

The Collaboration Maze is freely available to all Henley Forum members to download and share within their organisations. For non-members, our consultants can convene a Collaboration Maze event at your organisation. And later this year, we’ll be introducing a deluxe version for sale. For details email henleyforum@henley.ac.uk

Although, unlike the Crystal Maze, we don’t advocate abandoning your colleagues as we won’t be giving out Crystals for you to save them from the maze!

[i] Birkinshaw, J, Bessant, J and Delbridge, R (2007) 'Finding, Forming, and Performing: Creating networks for discontinuous innovation'. California Management Review, 49 (3): 67-84.