The collaboration bicycle

Collaboration technology is more important than ever.

The new tools which promise to improve collaboration and co-creation can support dispersed teams, and enable new ways of working.

Interactive large-format displays democratise the use of software during a meeting, and digital whiteboards fully involve remote participants and enable co-creation in virtual teams.

But there’s no silver bullet. It’s just one wheel of what can be called The Collaboration Bicycle.

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To get things going, you also need to look at your processes and, specifically, company culture.

According to a survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, office workers spend 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails (33% of a 40-hour workweek), and it’s getting worse.

Consequently, you need business rules and training how to integrate new technology into your (redesigned) workflows.

“Deploy and Pray” never works.

Annicken R. Day, former CCO (Chief Cultural Officer) at a global tech company, summarises 7 key areas of a great company culture: Purpose, Identity, Trust, Love & Care, Growth, Passion and Joy.

Assessing and reshaping both workflows and company culture makes the other wheel of your Collaboration Bicycle.

Two wheels are better than one, but it obviously takes even more to make a successful vehicle.

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Leadership plays a crucial role when it comes to improving collaboration.

Getting everyone on board, and engaging the workforce is half the battle.

Senior leadership needs to do just that and lead by example.

But before diving into technical or process details, every initiative should start with a clear strategy.

What do we want to achieve by deploying platform xyz?

What are the KPIs to measure success?

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A collaboration strategy is the handlebar of our bicycle, making sure to ride into the right direction.

Endless studies tell of the damage of not being able to switch off, especially those who work from home, who overcompensate to not appear offline.

But collaboration solutions are designed to help people achieve their outcomes.

Fortunately, more and more employers realise that their end-customers will only be served in the best possible way if their employee’s experience is excellent as well.

As such, you should make sure that the saddle of your Collaboration Bicycle is comfortable and familiar.

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Avoid complex technology that requires multi-day training sessions or forces the user to change fundamental behaviour.

Chances are high that this technology would just collect dust. Instead, pick tools that are “walk-up-and-use”, providing an intuitive user experience.

Mobile technology is not only an enabler of collaboration for people working remotely.

If audio and video equipment in the meeting room becomes peripheral of your knowledge workers’ smart devices, full adoption is more likely to happen.

By choosing walk-up-and-use, intuitive tools that seamlessly integrate with mobile devices, you will see that the desired financial ROI will automatically follow your employees’ personal ROI.

When you consider all parts of your Collaboration Bicycle, your initiative is set up for success. Happy riding!

Sourced by Tobias Windbrake, Collaboration Consultant, SMART Technologies