How to build a collaborative culture in a competitive environment.

A powerful game theory style interactive session, where the participants become their own social experiment and discover first hand what happens when trust is removed from the equation.

(The Collaboration Deception is part of the full Collaboration Concept program suite)

Program concept

Why do bees discriminate against some of their own? How has tourism destroyed age old farming practices overnight? And what do the stone age hunters have in common with stockbrokers?

The motivation behind apparent collaboration can be deceptive. Many animals, including humans, will only cooperate if it's in their best interests to do so. In many areas of nature,  collective harmony is often only achieved by suppressing the innate impulse towards individual selfish mutiny. As a species, we seem to be designed to protect ourselves as individuals – often at the expense of the collective good.  The natural tendency is for self preservation, and if left unchecked this focus on self protection can lead to a race to the bottom.  But we actually need to be able to collaborate with each other in order to survive.

So how can true collaboration be established in the light of this apparent shortcoming? This program cleverly uses 'game theory' with the participants at the centre of a live social experiment. Discovering first hand what effect the unrestrained self-interest of an individual has on an entire culture, the participants will learn why trust is such a critical element in a range of important areas from relationships to trading. Often in a team someone will defect, compete or try to free ride in their quest for self-survival, and this program explores ways of dealing with such ultimately destructive tendencies.

The program starts with a fast paced audience participation social experiment, in which the program participants are encouraged to identify the issues and approach them from a different perspective. Through the course of the event, participants try their skill at solving an apparently impossible challenges based on the infamous ‘prisoner’s dilemma’. Participants soon learn that the productivity of a work group  depends on how the group members see their own goals in relation to the goals of the organisation.

Case studies covered in the session include: A modern day ‘Tragedy of Commons’, an exploration of how tourism destroyed the 3000 year old collaborative approach to rice farming in Bali; the deeper challenges of Globalisation; the unexpected connection between stockbrokers and stone age hunters; a discussion on why Sony lost the portable music race to Apple through non-collaboration; what  bats, chimps and bees can show us about natural instincts away from collaboration and towards self preservation: and why TV team reality shows are not really about collaboration.

Welcome to the collaboration deception, where humans struggle with the ambiguity of collaboration in a culture that breeds self survival and competition.

Some Client Testimonials

This session explores the conditions under which people collaborate. It’s practical and effective... the engagement in the room was amazing both to have fun, but as the game progresses you can see the how it dawns on the participants there is a deeper context related to what happens at work. This will help our KPIs and performance goals as an incredible reminder to see how to be more effective we can be if we take a more collective view.

John Ruthven
CEO - IR (Integrated Research)

We asked Andrew to present 2 keynotes (USA and Australia) explicitly looking for an interactive session. We’ve found that it’s all too common to have adventurers, high achievers, and sports celebrities come and tell us how what they have done aligns with our business. But what we were looking for this time was to take an experience and enable a paradigm shift to start people thinking differently, because once you have seen something you can never unsee it. For us the interactive nature of the sessions was critically important. Andrew did an outstanding job – everyone was engaged and everyone had a fantastic time while they were learning.

Matt Glasner,
Chief Commercial Officer - IR (Integrated Research)

Program Outcomes

  • Understand the forces at work with the dilemma of collaborating in a competitive environment
  • Determine what non-collaborative behaviours such as defecting and freeriding can occur in business contexts and what impact they have
  • Identify how to change behaviour from “they” to “we” thinking
  • Explore collaborative behaviours and expectations in their workplace

This is another original and unique program exclusively designed and presented by Tirian.