Nancy Dixon has a fascinating post about working with researchers who were getting a new work environment designed to foster casual conversation and collaboration. Basically their new cubes were going to be built either side of a communal area that was part coffee bar, part meeting table. Before the change, they knew very little about each other's work. They weren't interested in finding out and couldn't see much use for the new social space. Afterwards? Big, big difference. They were interested, seeing connections and working much more collaboratively.
I loved two in particular of Nancy's conclusions: the value of connection before content, and of conversation instead of presentation.
Hat tip: David Gurteen's tweet