Collaborative whiteboarding & generating ideas across distance.

DisplayNoteBlog Feb 16, 2017

Why multiple ideas from multiple sources help build innovation & what you need to start thinking about when deploying a collaborative whiteboarding solution.

In their book, Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas, Graham and Bachmann propose a host of ways individuals and organisations can innovate. The list, by no means exhaustive, looks at the revolutionary ideas of Marxism which break away from rational thought, to serendipitous discoveries, like Penicillin, which happen by coincidence and to philosophical ideas which live, mostly, in the minds of the creator.

And while revolution (think how some companies adapt to crisis and evolve as a much stronger organisation) and serendipity (see Groupon’s beginning as a 2 for 1 voucher scheme) are central tenets to innovation, it was one entry on the list that, for me, is the most natural fit for how we as modern organisations, with teams across different locations, continually innovate.

Symbiotic Innovation, they define as ‘when multiple ideas are combined, using different elements of each to make a whole.’

This definition goes to the heart of what it is to work in today’s organisation and 3 words in particular are at its very core.

With the word ‘Multiple’ it brings to the fore that the sum is better than the individual parts, that knowledge is better shared than in siloes.

It also reminds us that bodies of work and projects are the responsibility of different people, in departments across different locations as well as different people from different organisations like suppliers, vendors and customers.

The ideas part spans the entire creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought. These ideas that can be either visual (think of all those screenshots, sketches, videos, drawings you have) concrete (lets add component x to y) or abstract (can you imagine if we did x).

What happens to these ideas will depend on lots of different variables: whose idea it was, priorities at the time, time scales, feasibility, willingness, buy-in, ability to move from abstract to concrete.

With the word ‘combined’ we are reminded of the importance of communication as a key component of innovation, as a tool that lets us to express our thoughts and ideas. Without communication and communications, in all its forms, we can never tap into and make use of the multiple ideas that come from multiple people.

16 Things You Need to Consider When Deploying Collaborative Whiteboards

Simply by scratching the surface of the very concept of combining multiple ideas, makes it clear that there’s a lot of areas that modern organisations need to think about and explore if they want to use their people to foster innovation. While no two organisations the same there will be common questions that every organisation will need to ask itself before rolling out collaborative whiteboards. Here are just a few to start you thinking…

  1. How easy is it, currently, for teams in different locations to come together and combine ideas?
  2. Should the solution let you see individual contributions as well as the finished idea?
  3. Can you bring in and use your existing content like office files, videos, screen grabs?
  4. Is video central to team communication and does it need to integrate with your shared whiteboard solution?
  5. Is it an add-on to your board? Or part of the board?
  6. Can you continue to use your existing video conferencing solution?
  7. Is there an existing BYOD policy (either formal or informal) and do your people expect to be able to connect their devices to displays?
  8. Also, should the session always be available to view on devices after a meeting is over?
  9. How secure do you want your solution to be?
  10. Can a solution be deployed on your server or is your data going through someone else’s cloud?
  11. At a physical level, do you have the wall space to install the boards?
  12. Have you thought about the logistics of installing 6 x 84” on the 5th floor of your building?
  13. Indeed, do you even need to install new displays or is there a software solution that you can deploy on existing touch displays?
  14. Does your organisation deliberately collaborate with its supply chain: think here sharing whiteboards with vendors and suppliers and the security issues around that?
  15. Do you have the infrastructure in place to bring together people: will you roll out video for all?
  16. At a management level, do you have a team in place that are responsible for making it easier to share ideas and implement the move towards collaborative working?

What’s next?

In the world we strive to create, we want to make it easy for organisations to connect people and develop and actualise ideas.

We’re working on a solution that brings together collaborative Whiteboarding, group video and team chat. Sign up to be among the first to see it in action.

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