what does #deepcollaboration mean? let’s take a look!

have you ever taken part in a two-day workshop with a packed agenda? perhaps the participants travelled from all over. the organizing team has prepared the agenda and the methods. they have defined the outcomes and kicked off the agenda with a presentation. experience shows that the workshop might at this point already be getting behind the schedule. the first two hours pass with high motivation and productivity. but converging towards a joint result after the coffee break turns out to be tricky. the situation after lunch isn’t quite improving. research has to be done to move on and the organizers start to compromise on the agenda.

sounds familiar? you’re in good company! the simple truth is: even with the best possible preparation, chances are that your workshop goes off track. there is a multitude of reasons for this: cognition theory for instance, tells us that information is consolidated over night. this means, people frame completely new ideas about yesterday’s content on day 2 and muddle up the agenda. another difficulty is striking the right balance between “pushing through the agenda” and “leaving enough space for creativity and discussion”. the time limit imposed by the costly physical 2-day-workshop is not helpful in this regard.

innovation is here

we want to benefit from the over-night cognitive consolidation of information. therefore, our collaboration process needs to cater to the alternating phases of both asynchronous and synchronous individual work. asynchronous work is the time in which team members analyze information, consolidate contributions, fill identified white spaces through research. however, synchronous work is different. here, team members contribute information, develop creative ideas or amend and evaluate strategies or ideas. this is of course a lot easier if the agenda can be worked off step by step. for example, in manageable 2-hour sessions during which the team gets together and in-between phases for consolidation and research.

the abovementioned alternating mechanism is, of course, in most situations not feasible in physical format and requires remote teamwork. thus, to organize meaningful collaborative processes technology comes into play. while we are well equipped with tools for individual work phases, tools for synchronous work are a little scarcer. they need to replace what we have in the physical meeting:

  • verbal and non-verbal communication (video conferencing),
  • meta-plan walls or whiteboards,
  • as well as tools and methods for divergent / creative phases (such as brainstorming, ideation, and many others),
  • and convergent phases (quick voting, sophisticated evaluations).
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the prerequisites for #deepcollaboration

  • alternating synchronous and asynchronous work phases that can be set in function of progress.
  • technology allowing for meaningful remote collaboration.
  • tools and methods supporting the different modes of synchronous work.

with ivicos, we are working on a platform allowing for #deepcollaboration. we’re not there yet. but we know where we want to head. above all, we want to revolutionize collaboration.

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