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Mud, Lightning and Collaboration

GlastonburyDespite having spent most of a weekend stood in mud, rain and thunderstorms at the Glastonbury festival, I’ve spent time since happily reflecting on some of the amazing collaboration between performers over the three days.  Aside from the various bands, whose members (presumably) work closely together all the time to perfect their sound, there were some fairly unlikely partnerships on display too.  Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi rocking to “Lay Your Hands on Me” for example. Or Ed Sheeran and Rudimental ripping it up in the middle of an electrical storm.

These combinations got me to thinking about how businesses with very different skill sets and competencies frequently come together to collaborate.  For small to midsized businesses the ability to collaborate effectively with partners, suppliers and customers is often critical to success.

Many organizations collaborate specifically to accelerate growth and innovation.  According to the Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Survey  of 4,225 business leaders,   94% of respondents felt that Innovation was important to sustainability and growth. And three quarters felt that collaborating would increase their chances of success with innovation, with the majority open to sharing financial risk and reward.

“Collaboration was considered a possible jumpstarter for innovation among three out of four of the respondents to the innovation survey.” Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Survey

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One meeting, One experience, for Global Collaboration

Do you ever get to the end of your working day, and realize that you have no idea whether the sun has been shining, or it has been pouring with rain all day?  Sometimes, it is only when I’m in video meetings that someone else will actually notice for me that the sun is shining outside my window! Talking to colleagues in the U.K. while I was visiting San Francisco for Cisco Live brought this point home.  In the U.K., the persistent cloud cover had disappeared, giving way to one of the UK’s rare heatwaves. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, temperatures dropped, and we huddled in jackets and sweaters. It wasn’t meant to be this way!

Did you make it to Cisco Live?  If so, I hope that you had a chance to get to some of the great keynote sessions. My favourite was from Rowan Trollope, in which he demonstrated Cisco’s new video collaboration endpoints.

The new products are making video collaboration simpler and more cost-effective than ever. His demo included an illustration of Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays – Collaboration Redefines Higher Education.

June 12, 2014 at 8:12 am PST

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) students are learning in ways that would have seemed impossible just a decade ago.

The University’s College of Education, which is renowned for its innovative and progressive learning environment, made it their mission to give students  a professional and global experience.   By aligning collaboration technology with the University’s needs, UNO pushes the boundaries of education.

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For example, with web conferencing, professors are now able to spend more time one-on-one with students and less time lecturing.  Students and faculty can attend class from remote locations, making classes more accessible to all. In addition, students are able to view online lecture notes before class, so that class time is more effectively spent in group discussions around real-life applications. Read More »

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Work is What You Do (Not Where You Go)

June 5, 2014 at 10:31 am PST

As I wrapped up my monthly forecast call last week, it struck me just how drastically work has changed in the last decade. It was 10 p.m. and I was in my hotel room in Macau, face-to-face with sales team leads in Singapore, the U.K., Switzerland, and the U.S., over video. Ten years ago, mobile phones were just phones, and for many, the office was where you met with co-workers and got your work done.

Today we’re mobile. Our workforce is globally distributed. Deadlines are shorter than ever. We need to make decisions faster. With multiple generations in the workforce, we must accommodate a wide range of behaviors, outlooks, expectations, and work styles. To stay competitive, we need to look beyond commute distance to find the best talent.

I’ve said before that embedding collaboration technology into workplace design is critical to the success of any workplace transformation effort. Our activity-based  work spaces must give employees secure, seamless access to the information they need to get their jobs done. But this must also extend beyond the walls of our offices so we can collaborate no matter where we are – at home, at a customer site, inflight at 30,000 feet, or in a hotel room in Macau.

And we’re not the only ones who think so.

  • Almost half of professionals worldwide are already working remotely at least some of the time
  • Globally, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015
  • 61% of employees globally believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and efficient
  • 70% of aspiring executives who plan to manage large teams say they will rely more heavily on video in the next 5 to 10 years

Work Is What We Do, Not Where We Go

At Cisco, our own work profile surveys show that among Cisco employees: Read More »

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Keeping in Tune: Simpler Collaboration From Any Device

Did you know that the Guns N’ Roses anthem Sweet Child O’ Mine was originally written as a practice guitar riff?

A friend told me this as I recently struggled to play it, making sounds closer to ‘chopsticks’ than to one of the most famous guitar tracks ever created.

The fact that I was playing a borrowed guitar may have made it more difficult, though. Playing a familiar instrument is so much easier, if only because you know its foibles! Read More »

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