Plan, solve problems, make decisions, create – collaborate
What does collaboration really mean to you? We all view this term in unique way and have different needs when it comes to collaboration, so a diverse tool set will give us the edge we need to succeed today.
It’s not all technology though, a positive collaboration experience requires some basic ingredients as well as the right tools. Before you even get started you need to ask the right questions. Why are we collaborating online or with technology?
Usually people who are aiming to collaborate online will answer with standard responses like
- to save money
- so we don’t have to waste time flying
- for environmental and sustainability reasons
- to get everyone in the room at the same time
…which really means… so we can just keep doing what we always have done but now with online tools.
Asking the right questions will save you so much time and pain later on so here are my tips based on my experience working with groups online and off over the years.
Try something something like this.
What behaviours do we need in our organisation or group in order to achieve the results I need?
When you have the answer, then try a generative or catalytic question like….
How might we build a social learning culture by tapping into the intellectual and creative capital of our people and increase our value in the market place?
Top 5 questions to ask before collaborating
- How shall we share our intent and vision?
- How can we integrate thinking and doing?
- How can we transform through stories and conversations?
- How might we build in regular feedback and rewards? Show gratitude, communicate often for short amounts of time.
- In what ways can we invest in our communities knowledge?
There are many more questions and tips so I encourage you to research, ask experts, learn from each other and share what you know. We are living within an information explosion, an age where we can no longer be the holders of lots of knowledge, and that is just fine because we can learn from each other through our diverse networks. This is called social learning or connectivism.
I recommend you build a personal learning network PLN and call on them when you need answers or assistance. Innovative Educators like Lisa Nielsen are great at this.
Give value first and you’ll be pleasantly surprised where it gets you in life. And where possible connect with people offline or via a video connection once and awhile. We need visual cues to build real trust and often these cues are lost online leading to misunderstandings.
Online collaboration technologies can be either synchronous or asynchronous, and each of these can deliver benefits to individual users and organizations. Look for tools that have asynchronous and synchronous collaboration built in. They are both useful and have their pros and cons. Here are my favourite tools for collaboration and learning.
My Top 10 tools for everyday collaboration
- Your mobile device
- Sticky notes
- Google Docs
And finally this online document (PDF) Six Critical Success Factors for Running a Successful Virtual Meeting is a terrific resource for learning about online meetings and more.
Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts on collaboration or great tools you’ve discovered.