Teaming in a time of Covid-19

Live Talk + Q&A | Friday 25th September, 4:00pm - 4:30pm CEST

One reason that a good team will deliver value greater than the sum of the parts is that a team is a thing in and of itself.

Teams offer multiple benefits to the practice of information architect. Sense- and meaning-making are always collaborative activities – between an environment and a sense-making agent. So it stands to reason that creating them through collaboration will lead to better results… OK, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe individual practitioners are equally well-equipped to make good IA. But ‘teams’ do bring benefits – a multiplicity of perspectives, a broader skillset, greater levels of accountability, examples from which to learn. And whether you ever join a team of information architects (I’m making a pitch that the collective noun for a group of information architects would be ‘an Understanding’) you will inevitably have to collaborate in teams – whether they’re from other disciplines or not.

I’ve been building and thinking about teams for over 10 years. And this year the way teams interact and operate has changes drastically. COVID-19 is an awful virus and there’s no point diminishing the horrendous loss it’s brought to many. But the theme of EuroIA is hope, and I’m hopeful that not only can teams persist in these times, but that we can build new types of collaboration.

In this talk I’ll share what I’ve learned and what I’m learning about teams and collaborative information architecting.

I’ll share models from Robert Kegan and the deliberately developmental organisation, Patrick Lencioni and General Stanley McCrystal. I’ll talk about the importance of trust, confidence and resilience in ‘normal times’ and how levels of uncertainty and unpredictability challenge us. I’ll give concrete examples of how collaboration leads to better results but brings additional considerations to projects and challenges. And I’ll talk about how the ‘bandwidth’ of reality is shrunk when interactions are forced into digital environments – and how we can still make meaning.

A group of information architects is called an Understanding. But reaching consensus, seeing other experts as support and not a threat and learning to lead via video all require reflection. In this talk we’ll consider how to build teams and connect practitioners in an age where ‘social distance’ is a new normal.


Dan Ramsden