Collaborative technology are the tools & technologies that better facilitate group work, both remotely & in office. They trim the time & cost associated with working together by simplifying information sharing, assignment designation and workflow routing. There are two phases of effective teamwork; establishing effective communication and collaborating. Communication is how you transfer ideas from one person to another, while collaboration is how you work together to put pen to paper.
In the last five to ten years the theme of cloud computing and SaaS have allowed online business transition from viable to crucial. This has created the present ecosystem that has enabled people to continue working together throughout the pandemic, most famously with Zoom. While a lot of these technologies have existed for years, the present situation has given this category a moment to shine. Working with others effectively has never been so important, because of the limitations on physically being together. This time has shown us just how important teamwork is and what good tooling enables. What is interesting is that teamwork is about more than talking & working. It is about creating an environment where all members can simultaneously be in a state of flow; and now in the remote world, recreating all the intricacies of teamwork as a web experience.
Figma has begun to lead into a revolution in visual communication; how we communicate through our work. They have done this by building a web based design tool that allows teams to work together on one project. Aesthetics have become critical in this era, and websites are becoming experiences over utilities. Since tech is no more accessible than ever, design is a more important differentiator. Figma emphasizes the end to end design experience from initial design through building user experiences. Figma’s biggest innovation is that it allows teams to work collaboratively in real time on the web. Web based design tools weren’t possible until recent developments in browser technology. As software Figma is very impressive, and what’s different is that it opens design to everyone. It uses an intuitive layout to make building visuals simple, and it has an incredible free tier. As the internet becomes more sophisticated, aesthetics will become a more important signaling tool and businesses will win customers based on design.
Collaboration in design allows designers to think about exactly how a product will work and that user’s pain points are handled. Design creates an experience that makes sense to the end-user. It gets harder to do that when designers work in a vacuum, which Figma solves. The power of collaboration lies here, you can find the right people and put allow them to work collaboratively regardless of their location. The beauty of collaborative work is that it decreases feedback loops. Information is available almost instantaneously and can keep be updated in real time. Course corrections are done more frequently on a small scale, instead of larger more intimidating changes.
The most important aspect of teamwork is communication. The current leader in communication is Slack ($WORK), a Seachable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge or in non-acronym terms it is a place for workplace communication. It integrates group messaging and person to person messaging. It’s a well designed, highly functional and intuitive product that looks more like a game than an enterprise communication solution. Slack integrates outside software allow teams to tie functionality in within their workspace. This makes Slack a hub for teamwork because it brings multiple solutions into one place and offers a discussion forum. You can integrate software like Airtable (my sweetheart), Zoom or even Dropbox. None of this was possible with the former incumbent of email, because it works directly with other services as opposed to references of those services. Slack is an example for what the next generation of software tools will look like; specialized, communicative and integrated.
Communication is the backbone of progress. Effectively working as a team is a lever that is often underutilized, because it is impossible to quantify. When I played college Volleyball our number one point of emphasis was always effectively communicating. It was an intangible facet of the game that separated the good teams from the great teams. You make your teammates life easier when you share what you see. Slack makes this possible by putting everything in one space, then creating a communication forum around it.
Overall software is moving towards a model where it allows for better teamwork. By creating solutions that make communication and collaboration easier progress will become easier to come by. While these tools aren’t a panacea for working in groups, they do provide a place to