It's interesting to observe the way technology trends come in waves, and how corporate culture echoes those waves. In the 1980s, the few businesses who were computerized had mainframes, where a central "brain" did all the functioning and workers were tethered to that resource via dumb terminals. The advent of the PC was revolutionary: at last, we were free to create on our own — at our desks and in our homes. As mobile devices infiltrated the enterprise, intelligence became even more distributed. Workers were finally able to take their work on the road and organizations were able to leverage a global workforce.
There was a corresponding echo in corporate culture: we became increasingly isolated from one other. This wave was reflected in the physical world as well, symbolized both by an increase in remote workers and ubiquitous in-offce "cube farms" with high walls separating team members.
However, once again, change is afoot. Email, Internet, and social media has led us to discover the power of information sharing and collaboration. The enterprise culture has begun to reflect this shift: Cube walls have gotten shorter (open offices have become increasingly popular), and we now spend an average of up to 80% of our work days collaborating with our teams, remote employees and customers.
But there's a problem.
In most companies, our technology is still stuck in the individual culture of the PC, leaving us with several key obstacles:
- Facilitating collaboration when our information is still contained in PC-based silos
- Presenting information to our workgroups. Although we have projectors and screen sharing, these technologies are less than ideal for brainstorming, when we benefit from presentation of multiple data sources side by side.
- Leveraging our global teams. How can remote participants (who have been untethered from the central office by virtue of their laptops and mobile devices) contribute to and receive the same experience as their onsite counterparts? Ineffectiveness in this area directly impacts our ability to innovate. While we require this collective intelligence, participants who are limited to audio presence or screen sharing still can't see all the information being presented. They also miss out on the ubiquitous whiteboards that are often the centerpiece of ideation.
It's clear that it's time to move beyond the culture of the PC and enhance a more collaborative — a more human — experience.
At Prysm, we take these concepts very seriously. Our charter is to nurture these superior experiences with visual workspaces that are accessible from anywhere on all devices and which support almost every type of content. Remote employees can interact with content in the same way they could if they were in the room with onsite participants. These digital workplaces afford a human environment that allows for freedom of movement and collaboration — keys to innovation.