Andrew Dietz is Founder and President of Creative Growth Group, Inc., a business development firm that exclusively helps professional service organizations sharpen growth strategies, enhance client development capabilities, and implement marketing and business development initiatives.

Proximity enables familiarity and both facilitate collaboration. A professional firm’s physical and virtual office space is a vital tool for collaboration.  During the recent  Creating Collaborative Advantage co-hosted byCreative GrowthSilverEdge and Deltek, panelist Mike Santoro – CEO of Walker Sands PR – said, “We’re redesigning our office space and creating places called collision zones where we think people will walk by and engage in casual conversations.  An open floor plan allows for conversations to flow.”   Creating opportunities to intersect becomes a challenge when you’re dealing with a virtual or widely dispersed workforce.  

Sarah Miller Caldicott, author of Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison’s Lab, pointed out that the innovation and design firm, IDEO, has implemented virtual collision zones they call wormholes.  Sarah said, “They have a practice of zooming a webcam in on one area of different office periodically.  You can actually see through the wormhole and peek in on and have conversations with colleagues around the world.”  You can learn more about IDEO’s always-on video-conferencing “wormhole” connections here:

This post is part of a series recapping the event, Creating Collaborative Advantage: How To Get Fiercely Independent Professionals To Collaborate For The Benefit Of Each Other, Their Firm and Their Clients hosted by SilverEdge, along with its partners Deltek and Creative Growth Group. Stay tuned for more advice from the event.