Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend Forrester's journey mapping workshop in their San Francisco office. It was a great mix of content and group exercises to give everyone hands on experience mapping the journey of a customer. We had a pretty impressive journey map by the end of the afternoon!
The word "collaboration" can conjure contrasting associations, depending on who you are and on your life experiences. Some of us may think of collaboration as a positive thing — a process in which we work with others (hopefully harmoniously) and, by virtue of the teamwork, create results that are better than we could have achieved on our own. Others may bristle at the word, because it brings up memories of forced committees and coalitions, often ending with results that are inferior to those we might have achieved on our own.
While I've experienced both, my feeling is that the more refined the processes and technologies involved, the better the chance that the outcomes will be positive. The bad news is that the above are often lacking.
Research* shows that approximately 65% of enterprise meetings now include remote participants. The reasons are obvious, including endeavoring to leverage a diverse global workforce, saving money on office overhead, and — in some cases — taking advantage of less expensive local labor.
Our marketing meetings at Prysm have several different purposes – campaign planning, design reviews, weekly status, one-on-one working sessions – the list goes on. The content we need to share in those meetings varies. With the recent release of co-browsing, we’ve been able to streamline the prep required for any meeting, as well as to dramatically enhance the meeting experience itself.
When you think of the word "collaboration," you probably think of meetings (online or offline), messaging, screen sharing, file sharing, and maybe even video conferencing. These activities have become not only standard in most business environments, but also a critical part of getting work done.
I admit it. I'm addicted to pens and paper. I have specific pens that I use for lists, others that I use for sketching, some for work, some for personal use, some that I keep in my bag, and so on. I know what you're thinking: yes, I work for a tech company! But I love the feel of pen on paper. The colors help me stay organized. And I'm just a highly visual person. What can I say? It's my thing.
Ten months ago, when I was interviewing for my job at Prysm, my future (now current) boss showed me the Prysm digital workplace platform. I remember her sketching on the digital whiteboard, calling up functions with a single touch from the hexagonal background, and using gestures to zoom in and out and move content around (like an iPad) on the massive 4K screen. It was impressive, to say the least. However (dirty little secret alert), I wasn't quite sure how useful it might be in day-to-day operations — outside of screen sharing in meetings with remote participants, which was something I could already do with Skype or Google Hangouts.
PowerPoint has become a mission-critical application — one that will not (and should not) be going away anytime soon. But while it’s the de rigueur standard for delivering presentations, PowerPoint was not built with collaboration in mind. As a result, developing presentations in concert with a team has some noteworthy challenges.
In “The Culture Map,” Erin Meyer beautifully describes how cultural differences and assumptions can create misunderstandings amongst colleagues in international business environments. As a case in point, she talked about how Westerners often assume Asians — who tend to participate and opine less than Americans do in meetings — have less to say. In contrast, Asians often feel that Americans are bad listeners, because they tend to talk over one another in their haste to share their perspectives. While neither of these assumptions is 100% accurate, they can lead to discord.
We had a great time with our April Fools' gag last week, in which we announced a futuristic (but fictional) creation called Prysm Avatar — a drone that would project your likeness as a 3D hologram, so you could make a virtual appearance in the office, while you worked from a remote location.
At Prysm, we’re always looking towards the future. By pushing the boundaries of science and technology, we help bring people together from anywhere in the world, enabling them to share content and ideas in new and exciting ways. We’ve dabbled in video conferencing, cloud-based file sharing, and mobile-anywhere connections. So what’s next?
Companies need their critical workforces to perform smarter, faster and more productively. Achieving that goal requires embedding collaborative technologies deep into processes and incentivizing collaborative behaviors — ultimately transforming the workflow to turn knowledge into action. Collaboration platforms should do more than help employees talk about their work; they should create new ways for employees to do their work.
Post contributed by Matt Proctor
I have been doing a lot of thinking about collaboration technology and work styles and how their evolution has been influenced by the multiple generations in today's workforce. While technology is always influenced by culture, it’s extra pronounced with collaboration technology, because it closely mirrors the way we have learned to communicate.