Extreme collaboration: The Formula 1 Intensive Care Unit

Regular readers of this blog or attendees at our events, know that we describe our objective to be all about fostering new, unexpected or extreme collaborations across disciplines and organisations. The word ‘extreme’ always seems to catch people’s attention and I’m often asked what that means. I think the best way to explain is through an example.

We came across a great example of extreme collaboration described in this article about how Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the McLaren and Ferrari racing teams worked together to halve the number of mistakes in the surgical and intensive care units through a collaborative project.

However this is the sort of collaboration that normally never occurs. People and institutions tend to network and learn within their field, discipline, sector or silo of choice, but usually don’t engineer sufficient diversity into their networking to allow these kinds of serendipitious cross-fertilisation of ideas to occur in the first place. I believe that individuals and organisations should deliberately create space within our schedules to network outside of our silo say 10% of the time, and I am confident the benefits would be realised provided there was a sufficiently open mind to make the necessary lateral leaps.

I think this example illustrates how knowledge from one domain (formula one racing) can be usefully applied into another (intensive care units of a hospital). Does anybody else have any good examples of extreme collaboration or experience of how it can be fostered to generate innovation?


  1. But is the example of the Wii hack an axample of extreme collaboration or rather “re-use” i.e. taking something developed for one purpose and using elsewhere? To my knowledge Nintendo played no role in the re-use project. Re-use is well understood (think Velcro, originally for airline seats but applications everywhere) but collaboration to apply knowledge gained in one domain to solve a problem in another much less so. Innovation exchanges such as http://www.innocentive.com are trying to bridge this gap at the personal level.

  2. Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 1, 2008)The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Stephen shares his thinking on knowledge workers, and some of the challenges they face in organizations. Eg, from slide 23, “knowledge workers are forced to look like this: limited in scope

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