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Helpful and happy collisions

collision-ballsFortune magazine published a piece recently that featured the CEOs of Zappos and Meetup on the art of bringing people together. A great read! The focus was on office space and city space design and planning and how it impacts employees communicating with each other and connecting with each. The idea is that the more that employees have the opportunity to ‘collide’ with each other, the more that they will share ideas with each other and the company itself will benefit from the interaction.

The piece talked about the concept of community from an urban planning perspective and how living in an urban environment rather than being isolated in a suburban environment is linked to greater degree of happiness. In an urban environment you may have a smaller house, but you spend less time commuting and more time colliding with others and making connections.

The more meaningful concept from the article, however, was the notion of these collisions being meaningful and forming a real community. That was a direct reflection for me of what I experience with social media, and connecting or colliding with friends and former colleagues that I might not otherwise follow. For example, I am in contact from many friends from undergraduate days. From time to time, someone will post and comment on a photo from the past and it sparks instant collision and community from those of us who experienced that memory years ago. For a moment, I feel instantly closer to these people, even though I haven’t seen or spoken with many of them in over 15 years.

One downside that the article did point out is that in a world of instant technology, it is easy to be consumed by your smart phone and texts and posts and live in a world of ear buds and isolation. However, today we have the advantage of colliding with people in our physical environment and in online environments and stay connected with a wide range of people from our present and past – and become ultimately happier with all of these collisions.

So homework assignment for everyone today:  think of 3 people from your physical present environment (neighbors, colleagues, family and/or friends) and 3 people from your social/online environment (can be from your present or past) and reach out and collide with them. You’ll be amazed to see what those connections can do to provide you with a new idea and put a smile on your face from a good story or memory.

Happy colliding!

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