Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how people in various positions across teams, especially startups and small companies, look at “collaboration” and how to get to the best output.
My colleague, Mr. Don Carli, has been a researcher, senior marketing strategy and fractional executive for many companies. He has a New York-based consulting business with clients across the globe. Don uses digital workspaces to add a visual aspect to collaboration, to communicate across platforms with various teams, and to get things done whether clients are down the street or many time zones away. With that experience, he is in a rare position, as both an early user of Infolio and a consultant, to share some best practices around digital collaboration in the workplace.
Don has spent years working across different client platforms and tools at both small and large companies, and he knows firsthand what works and what may sound good but doesn’t. We recently had a conversation about visual collaboration tools and how startups and other small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can utilize them.
First off, Don prefers creating visual workspaces or ”boards” for each client so he can move from board to board as he switches into and out of roles with different companies in various industries--this makes it easier to switch gears efficiently and stay productive. Distilling our conversation down to its essence, here are two big pieces of advice that he shared with me and that I can share with you.
TIP ONE: Try various tools and find what works for you
Different offerings do various things better than others. Here are a few examples below you may want to give a try to:
Gather information using apps like Evernote
Document projects and write white papers in Office365
Compile customer feedback in Google Docs
Get blind input on brainstorming ideas in AirTable
Use something like Bloomfire to draw mind maps
Organize your content and collaborate on Infolio visual boards
Chat either inside of an Infolio board or pull in Slack channels into it
Embed links to email chains into visual boards
Collect outside assets through online links and Google Docs.
TIP TWO: Use the features built into the virtual boards to keep up-to-date
You may want to try collaborating on projects in Infolio, creating visual boards per each research topic, marketing or product design initiative, etc., and make use of the features below for the best results.
Make sure everyone downloads the iPhone and iPad app to stay connected
Refer to the Activity stream to keep track of when things are added
Use the chat to communicate with the team
Comment on any information item right in the workspace, be it a document, a weblink or a task
Post notes to capture thoughts or meeting discussions
Create to-do lists & assign tasks to your team to track progress.
Don says his customers take right to using virtual boards because they are visual and intuitive. They can include everything from budgets to concept boards, and immediately help you collaborate and communicate on work or even personal projects. Plus, a core tool like Infolio is free and actually fun to use, so work feels a bit more like play.
Since visual collaboration boards can begin as templates or be a blank canvas, Don has found they work great to lower the barrier for a-synchronous work and communication. Now International teams and consultants can process, communicate and contribute more effectively at different times, easily picking up where others leave off. The virtual boards also allow the space to be dynamic enough to adapt to any team’s collaboration style. In the end, he says that visually powered online workspaces make his work easier, more cost-effective and, he emphasized more than once, more fun!
David Arbery, Director of Sales & Consulting at Infolio
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