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“Collaboration technologies can help reduce stress”

Simon Mackie

I have been chuckling about this video for years since I saw it. It must be closer to 10 years ago now, but no idea really. The image has always stuck with me on how foolish we can be keeping it all “up here,” yet we still tend to do this anyway. I find myself engaged in a lot of projects, then realize I’m the only one who really knows how to find this document or what was done.

Mackie was right when he said collaboration can reduce stress, particularly if you are the one watching the person take a face plant into the file cabinet. We have many great tools such as Google Docs, cloud computing, Skype, etc. These tools can make the task so much easier, so that even if you are the one bashing your head into the table, or just staying home with a cold, your work can be saved and shared already so everyone who needs to know does.

Kelly¬†describes the culture that warrants this. We need shared work as people and schedules change quickly. It’s an old fashioned way to view your work as individual and only you have the keys to the kingdom. Anyone who has worked with someone like that knows how frustrating it is to even have to ask for basic information you cannot access. Of course it starts with accessible management who encourages this collaboration.

In my experience,¬†collaboration has just become another buzzword. Everybody talks about it, writers write articles about it, dazzling speakers speak at the conferences about it, but what does it really mean? Instead of finding the tools to do things with, we are slow at jumping onto web 2.0 features, often using the excuse “Well, we are looking to move in these directions once…” but by the time we start using them, they are already replaced by better systems. For me, I’d rather jump in, figure it out, then learn if it really suits us or not rather than pontificating on our digital navels about whether we can make this decision or not (or get everyone together in a conference room to discuss it for 2 hrs, tabling it for another month until we get “more information.”).

And all this time I thought communication was what made us the more intelligent species. I’ll ponder that one.

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