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Collaboration Isn't a Youth Movement

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 03-06-2008 Print

Collaboration Isn't a Youth Movement

Older and overseas employees have plenty to offer in terms of collaboration. Young people have a reputation for being more comfortable working in groups and using new technologies. The survey backs that up: Employees 30 and younger are the fastest to adopt collaboration technologies and have often served as pioneers for new collaboration tools.

Surprisingly, though, it's employees in their 30s and 40s, not the 20-somethings, who are most likely to use high-impact collaboration applications. Employees older than 50 are rarely collaboration trendsetters, however. Anyone leading a collaboration or emerging technology task force shouldn't assume the youngest employees have the best insights into new technologies; they should include members of the middle generation of workers, who have the experience to see how these technologies can be applied to the workplace.

Nor should they overlook overseas workers: While Americans often export innovative collaboration practices overseas, one in four companies have found that their foreign-based workforce can be a source of new ways to use these technologies. Innovation in collaboration is not an exclusively American phenomenon.


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