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Collaboration with Scrap Lumber & Bailing Wire

I’ve always worked in creative environments with a lot of interdependent roles and processes – and big, unyielding deadlines. Twenty years ago (did I just type that?!), it was editors, writers, designers, artists, production teams, salespeople, prepress film houses, printers, and all of the rest involved in producing magazines. My role was at the intersection of the creative work and technical production. Sometimes it all happened as a meeting in one room, other aspects involved sneakernet, sending disks and film back and forth via couriers. Missing a print date cost big dollars. You didn’t miss the dates. Ever. 

Where's my sweater?Being a bit of a geek with a logical streak of an engineer’s daughter, I was always looking for ways to add structure and streamline processes. (This is not unlike trying to put a wet cat in a sweater.) I developed a successful, but perhaps unhealthy relationship with spreadsheets that I used to hold information – deadlines, story details, status, page counts, art files, page ratios. I dutifully maintained my trusty grids and could answer any question about any bit or piece along the way. But hand anyone else a printout and their eyes would cross and roll before they simply restated the question. The spreadsheets held data; I was the mechanism for sharing data – the user interface, so to speak.

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Could Grade-Schoolers Develop Cutting Edge Mobile Video Technology?

A while back, we asked what features you think would make up a good video collaboration app for smartphones and mobile devices.

Do you have your list?

If so, you should submit it to this team of primary school students in Sutton Coldfield, England. The youngsters take part in an after school computer club, during which they design apps for smartphones and tablets. They’ve already come up with sound effects and “painting” programs; could video be next? Read More »

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Cisco Live UK 2012 Industrial Demonstrations you can’t afford to miss!

We’ve been telling you about Cisco Live UK and the Cisco Industrial Booth for a couple of weeks now. Well, Cisco Live UK 2012 is finally here at the ICC London ExCeL, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, which is a major relatively new Conference and Exhibition Venue.

Held from January 30th through February 3rd in London, we have have our very own Cisco Industrial Solutions booth especially aimed at helping manufacturers and companies in many industrial sectors with their networking and business challenges. See later on in the blog for a map fo exactly where the booth is in the World of Solutions.

We have plenty of demonstrations planned there covering: Read More »

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New Ways of Working on the Horizon

Recent articles  indicate that manufacturing activity in the U.S. continues to expand and  global industrial production  is  positive in spite of softness in a few geographies. This is a great rebound from the trough of 2009.  Productivity gains have  fueled much of the recent rebound and leading companies are looking for more. Several years ago a leading manufacturing company, GE, asked Cisco to develop a new collaborative environment for distributed teams.

Leaders have implemented new  working environments, such as the  Cisco Active Collaboration Room.  Now there is a movement to bring  forward the next environment for team productivity, rapid decision making, and distributed collaboration. The development of  new  working environments will accelerate, driven by a need to enable  distributed teams for innovation, business management, and optimization. As mobility and the benefits of  rapid analysis and decision making increase, the work environments will change dramatically as described in the Fortune magazine article,  What will the future workplace look like?” Read More »

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Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A (Part 2)

In our earlier post, we explored growing interest in a new class of social application that AIIM calls “Enterprise Q&A”. We concluded that design and user experience were critically important. To deliver this type of application effectively, design practices had to accommodate the social dynamics that occur as people participate in various roles within “answer networks”. As organizations invest in social collaboration platforms, many of these systems will have, or will eventually include, an Enterprise Q&A capability. Design practices that prioritize user experience and social participation, not just Q&A automation, will likely deliver the best solution. While it seems to be straightforward design challenge (ask a question, get an answer), the cultural and social networking dynamics can be very nuanced. Those nuances are easily overlooked if solution providers implement Enterprise Q&A from a technological perspective.

Below are several strategy, design, and user experience considerations you might want to ask yourself if you are looking into this topic:

  • Where should the question get published to maximize the change of getting a applicable answer? While industry exuberance for activity streams makes it the likely candidate, is that always the proper mechanism?
  • If activity streams are leveraged, is posting a question into a stream cluttered with lots of other items vying for attention the right approach? Should we visually distinguish a question from other types of activity stream entries? What other filtering options should be considered so that questions receive the proper priority?
  • If posting a question into a stream is not always the best design decision, what other options should be considered? Should we decipher the meta-data associated with a question and map them to expertise tags of people and communities? If so, we can then define a notification process and ping those individuals and groups through different alerting options? Read More »

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