Perspectives

VIRTUAL COLLABORATION: GETTING THE RIGHT TOOLS IN PLACE

Industry 4.0 drives disruption, uncertainty, and volatility in our work, lives, and even our learning. Changes to the way people work and want to work, coupled with a need to address sustainability issues, improve productivity, and protect themselves against surges in communicable diseases like Covid 19, mean organisations need to think hard about ways of working that enable flexibility, creativity, and agility.

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Industry 4.0 drives disruption, uncertainty, and volatility in our work, lives, and even our learning. Changes to the way people work and want to work, coupled with a need to address sustainability issues, improve productivity, and protect themselves against surges in communicable diseases like Covid 19, mean organisations need to think hard about ways of working that enable flexibility, creativity, and agility.

VIRTUAL COLLABORATION: GETTING THE RIGHT TOOLS IN PLACE

Technology offers amazing solutions to the challenges of the 21 Century workplace, but the variety of tools and platforms available can seem overwhelming. In this blog, we share some of the tools we use to enable remote teams to learn and work better together.

Webinars

Webinars can connect people from around the world, with a simple link. When done well, they can be highly interactive and immersive experiences (though the opposite is true if they are done badly!).

We use webinar technology for project briefings, online training, and virtual meetings.

Top tip: if you’re delivering a training session, make sure you think about how it can be interactive, so that people feel engaged throughout.

Video

Instructional, informational, or demonstration videos are a great way to share knowledge and inspiration and to convey concepts and ideas.

We use videos as part of online and in-room learning programmes, sharing the links before or afterwards to help embed the learning.

Top tip: The sound quality is often more important to people than the imagery. Poor sound is shown to be significantly more distracting and attention sapping than poor visuals.

Online Surveys

Online surveys are an immediate way to create data, view results in real-time and share insights at the click of a button. Online surveys are fantastically useful for gathering end-user data quickly and at low cost.

We have found that using online surveys on projects has increased the breadth and depth of our insights.

Top tip: Ask a range of questions: qualitative and quantitative, so that the data you generate is rich and the survey is engaging for participants.

Instant Messaging Apps

We use WhatsApp to keep project teams connected and collaborating throughout projects. If your team is working remotely from each other, or if you have a project that requires a particular focus, WhatsApp or similar tools, like Slack, can be a brilliant way of keeping focus, moving at pace and encouraging collaboration.

Top-tip: Become the convener of the community – share regular content to keep the group active and ask questions to encourage engagement.

Learning Management platforms

Learning Management Platforms give flexibility around sessions or training programs. They aren’t a single solution to learning needs, but can support and enable learning in the context of other forms of engagement. At The Innovation Beehive, we have run whole programmes using our platform, and we use it to give clients extra stimulus, training and an area for them to collaborate together to generate brilliant ideas and solutions to their challenges.

Top-tip: think of ways to gamify the learning experience: quizzes, competitions, and games can all add to the user experience and maintain engagement levels.

Virtual Meetings

Virtual Meetings are a great way to progress on a project, at pace. There is no waiting for everyone to be all in the same room, for the next steps to be taken. One of our values is ‘We are on it’, and virtual meetings allow us to check in with the client collaborate on plans and next steps, and deliver results in real time.

Top-tip: Agree your ways of working to ensure engagement, e.g. no web browsing or performing other tasks whilst in the meeting. Ensure you use tools to keep people engaged such as polls and group discussions.

Digital Prototyping Tools

Depending on your background, prototyping might already mean digital to you, but many of us are used to experimenting with scrappy prototyping kits to bring our ideas to life. This can still be achieved in a digital world, but it needs a bit of creativity, and the right tools to make it possible.  We use a range of tools to create digital prototypes as part of our workshops, including virtual design, website builders, and online ads. All of these can help inform your creative process when seeking to innovate and test your ideas.

Top-tip: Consider a range of tools from Adobe Creative Cloud to video making, from demo websites to Slide Shares. Don’t limit your creativity.

Document Collaboration Platform

Virtual Document Collaboration is an essential component of a flexible working environment, allowing adjustments to be made in real-time. Tools like Dropbox and Office365 enable teams to collaborate whilst managing version control. As more and more people work flexibly, from home, or on multiple sites, well managed document collaboration is a valuable addition to the suite of tools at your peoples’ disposal.

Top-tip: Give people some training on how to use the platform effectively, especially around saving conventions and collaboration.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to share content. Sometimes people do not have time to read articles or watch videos. Podcasts work in the car, on the tube, or at your desk. To support learning, we often share audio content along aside video and written to give maximise engagement.

Top-tip: You don’t even have to create your own podcasts to incorporate them into your virtual working. If there’s a podcast you’ve found that would bring value, share it with your team.

FREE WEBINAR

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VIRTUAL COLLABORATION?

Join our Innovation Director, Joe Nagle, for a free webinar on Thursday 12 March at 11am to learn:

  • the three biggest challenges to virtual working and training
  • the key tools to consider when developing a virtual working strategy
  • the one big lesson in keeping engagement with virtual meetings

Register by clicking the button below (opens a new registration page)

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