There’s a saying that two heads are better than one. That’s a phrase about collaboration. 

When you think about it, there are so many examples of how powerful it can be. Organisations, groups or individuals getting together to create something fresh, different or unique. 

To illustrate the point, I’ve outsourced some research into stories of collaboration to create this article. During the process, I’ve been reminded of things I already knew and discovered things I didn’t know. 

It may be the same for you. Here are a few examples that may be more familiar to you. 

1. The Smart Car 

This is that cute little car that combines city style with around town practicality. 

It is the result of a collaboration between Daimler-Benz AG, the German maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, and SMH, the Swiss company which makes Swatch watches. 

The funky vehicle concept came from SMH CEO Nicolas Hayek.  

He wanted to use some of the manufacturing strategies and personalisation features that go into making a Swatch, to create a compact yet stylish city car. 

The Smart car has been around for more than 20 years and still looks fresh. A design classic based on intelligent collaboration. 

2. Lennon & McCartney 

Based on records sold, the two leading members of the Beatles created the most successful musical collaboration in history. 

Between 1962 and 1970, the partnership published around 180 jointly credited songs. The Beatles have sold more than 600 million albums worldwide.  

Unlike many songwriting partnerships, both Lennon and McCartney wrote lyrics and music. In the early days, they worked “eyeball to eyeball” to co-create songs. Later, one of them tended to write something and get a small bit of input from the other. 

Either way, they were not only prolific writers but created some of the best-loved songs ever. 

3. Other Musical Collaborations 

There are many other well-known examples of great songwriting partnerships. George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Elton John and Bernie Taupin are among the best known. 

Collaboration is not just about writing lyrics. Artists also come together to create songs. David Bowie and Mick Jagger. The Beatles and Eric Clapton. U2 and Green Day. Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews. Robert Plant and Diana Krall. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. Kylie Minogue and Dua Lipa. 

A host of rock and pop stars came together as Band Aid, famously delivering a fundraising gig at Wembley in 1984 to help the starving in Africa. Queen later collaborated with author and comedian Ben Elton to create the smash hit musical We Will Rock You. 

No doubt, other collaborations on songs and albums have sprung up in your mind. 

4. Marketing duos 

Big business is also very open to collaboration. In marketing, there are many examples of co-branding partnerships that appear to have worked successfully. 

Red Bull and GoPro. Red Bull sponsors races and action sports events. Go Pro provides portable cameras to capture the adventures. 

BMW and Louis Vuitton. Two luxury brands combined. BMW promoted its top-of-the-range i8 model with a luggage set from Louis Vuitton that fitted perfectly in the car. 

Uber and Spotify. While waiting for their ride, Uber customers are encouraged to connect with Spotify and choose their playlist for the journey. 

Apple & Mastercard. A very practical collaboration. Apple introduced Apple Pay so people could pay for things with their smartphones. But, for it to work, it needed customers to be able to store their credit card data on their phones.  

MasterCard agreed to integrate with the new technology and was the first to join forces with Apple Pay. As more people choose to pay with their phones, it benefits the card company, too. 

At the Heart of it All – Team Collaboration 

These kinds of business and marketing collaborations are never as simple as the idea itself. There is often a huge amount of negotiation, activity and problem-solving involved. 

That means executives holding meetings. Proposals. Reviews. Comments. Feedback. Discussions.  

That means designers working with designers. Concept specialists working with engineers and craftspeople. Technology talking with marketing. Marketing working with sales. Customer service working with different departments. 

Teams working within their own organisation. Teams working across one or more organisations. 

It doesn’t happen without full collaboration. Connection, cooperation, co-creation. Communications, ideas and feedback. Sharing of concepts, files, problems and progress. 

This is why you’ll see businesses looking for technology to help make all that happen as painlessly and smoothly as possible. Not just the corporates, either. Especially with how the working model has changed in the past 18 months or so. 

Hybrid and Remote Collaboration 

Organisations had the challenge of how to keep good collaboration and communications going when employees were working from home. 

Now they are having to work out how to make a hybrid model work. Some people work remotely – at home or elsewhere – and some work in the office. 

It’s why we’ve witnessed the explosion in the use of Zoom. It’s also why we’ve seen organisations taking up Microsoft Teams in their droves. 

The application allows people to work whenever they want, wherever they are in the world. They can collaborate in real-time with colleagues and keep all their documents in one place, including every version or update. 

Teams has an online meeting function, which can replace the need for Zoom or work with Zoom. 

Organisations also realise it’s one thing having the powerful Microsoft Teams technology to hand. It’s another to have employees competent and confident in using it. 

If one or two people are not up to speed with it, it often shows. Frustrating for them, frustrating for their colleagues. 

And, of course, if organisations are using professional assistants, they will assume their PA, EA or VA already have a strong grasp of Microsoft Teams

Training in Microsoft Teams 

There are plenty of options around for training in Teams. 

If you like to work through the essentials at your own pace, finding an individual online course on Microsoft Teams makes good sense. It’s good for your budget, too. 

Professional assistants and corporate clients could also opt for 1:1 virtual live training for more personalised learning. 

Organisations, friends or colleagues could also get a group of people trained in Teams. To explore how that works with me as your trainer, get in touch directly so we can talk it through and get something sorted. 

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Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

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A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

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A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

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