We lost a true visionary last week –Steve Jobs died at the early age of 56. We have heard some compare Steve to the Thomas Edison of our generation. Only time will tell if this is true. One thing for certain, like Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs definitely transformed the way that we use technology in our daily lives. Jobs was known for his creativity and the ability to create a new market for his products. He had an instinct for being able to properly package technology so that it was easy and fun to use. The products most often didn’t even need a user’s manual to get started. – just push a button and the device will light up and guide the user through the setup process. Not only are they easy to use, the products work as expected. It’s intuitive.
Over the years, we have realized that this packaging holds true for delivering collaborative technologies. If people in an organization want to collaborate but the tools are not easy to use, will they go the extra mile to collaborate or will the barriers still be too high? When people go to the collaboration site and no one is there, will they come back? The key in the corporate environment is to put collaboration literally at the fingertips of employees and to generate mass involvement—which is the only way that collaboration works. Quite often organizations launch a new collaborative environment within their organization with great fan fare only to discover that it doesn’t get much use. Collaboration applications are unlike most applications used within your organization.
A collaboration solution is used throughout the entire organization, whereas only a portion of the organization uses other applications, such as an accounting package. Because of this, it’s important to understand how to package the collaborative functionality so that it’s easily accessible by all users within the organization. If the collaboration mechanisms are seamlessly integrated into the programs you use on a daily basis, you can share a document or initiate a chat without having to change your focus. If the collaborative capabilities are packaged properly, users will automatically begin to use them and use them often. This in turn will drive others to use the capabilities which will lead toward the successful use of collaborative technology in your organization.