Sticky notes, index cards, markers, and flip chart papers: these are some of the most common traditional tools that teams use when getting ideas off the ground, solving a problem, or discussing projects. While these materials have helped countless teams achieve their goals, in today’s digital age most (if not all) organizations need access to better, faster tools and technologies that can enable them to effectively collaborate and work creatively together.
In this article, Nancy Knowlton, the co-founder and CEO at Nureva, an award-winning technology company that develops innovative collaboration products, offers insights on how workplace communication and team collaboration have changed. Knowlton shares with VoipReview.org how Nureva is helping teams move from paper to pixel with the Span(™) visual collaboration system.
Collaboration in the Modern Workplace
Collaboration is undoubtedly crucial in fostering innovation in the workplace. Incredible ideas and game-changing solutions are often the results of bringing various people together who possess different skills, knowledge, and passions. In order to create a collaborative culture in the workplace, teams need the right tools and techniques. Fortunately, organizations are now able to go beyond old-school sticky notes and flip charts and transition to the vast range of collaboration tools and technologies available in today's market.
But while technology has brought significant benefits for collaboration and office communication, Knowlton says it has also confused the issue about what collaboration is, and secondly, what good collaboration really is. “I would say that in today’s businesses, many people have latched onto collaboration and collaboration solutions, but fundamentally, they don't know what it means or how to bring the value of effective collaboration to a business,” said Knowlton. “For a lot of employees and executives, they are doing the same old things and expecting different results because they have a collaboration solution or collaboration technologies, and that doesn't exactly happen,” she added.
So how can organizations make the most out of the collaboration technologies available to them? “This starts by first assessing the principles and seeing the intended outcome, then getting educated about the appropriate tool sets, and finally bringing collaboration to the front,” advised Knowlton. In addition, it's important for companies to consider their remote employees when choosing a collaboration tool. According to Knowlton, it is important that companies have the right tools that will allow their remote participants to actively participate in team conversations and exchanges and, in turn, have as good of an experience as those people who are located in-office.
How Teams Can Go From Paper to Pixel
Transitioning to digital collaboration technologies may also present challenges for organizations, especially for those who have been used to analog tools and physical materials. Knowlton says: “Many folks have the mindset of 'I don’t want to learn something new because I have job to do', but the important question to ask is: how do you breed a growth mindset where change is normal?” To successfully introduce and incorporate new collaboration technologies in the workplace, Knowlton says organizations have to support these new methods with adequate training and other mechanisms for support. Additionally, it also helps to have a “change agent.”
Knowlton shared that one of their clients took an interesting team approach to encourage the adoption of their collaboration system. The project team was using the product, the IT people were supporting the technology, and a dedicated employee was assigned to be a “change agent”. “To integrate employees and others in the company, the 'change agent' started using the solution in a large open room, where there was a lot of foot traffic," said Knowlton. The 'change agent' said that it would be good if people can naturally see what they are they doing and be inquisitive. This would, in turn, prompt conversation as to the project and the technology.
Knowlton's advice? “Buy [the solution] and then get others intrigued naturally, to follow up with training and support thereafter," she said. "It is a great psychological approach for adoption of a new technology in the workplace."
Collaborate Without Limits
Made for people looking to build brilliant ideas together, the Nureva(™) Span system’s cloud-based SaaS model offers teams a space to create, share, and plan. “The first couple of releases of the application were really focused on replicating the analog world; and from there, the Span system moved beyond to bring in the power of the digital world to make the experience much more enhanced,” explained Knowlton.
The Span system combines a solid-state-illumination (SSI) projector with an intuitive cloud-based canvas that can be projected onto a wall and can be accessed simultaneously from team members’ computers, tablets, and smartphones. The solution is based on the Microsoft Azure platform, which means it enjoys multiple layers of security from Microsoft as well as extra security and encryption from Nureva itself. It features the convenience and flexibility of today’s online and touch technologies with the familiarity of traditional, paper-based collaboration materials, such as sticky notes, images, sketches, and flip-chart pages.
Below are the key highlights of the Span system:
- For everyone - The Span system is for all team members, whether in the same room or working from a distance. All members can see all the materials and contribute in real time.
- Familiar tools – Members can use notes, sketches, flip charts, text boxes, images, hyperlinks, and templates to brainstorm, work on projects, and more.
- QuickShare mode –This feature lets anyone (even those without a Span subscription) join in the discussion. Users simply have to invite guests to collaborate on any canvas.
- Easy to use – Knowlton says Nureva has a rabid focus on the user experience. This allows users to focus on the work, not the technology.
- Broad compatibility – With the Span system, users can work using any personal device or interactive display. The wall software is ideal for devices with Windows® OS 8.1+; while the apps are suitable for Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 devices. The web client (browser), on the other hand, works on Chrome v54+ and Safari 9+ (running Mac OS X 10.10+).
- Cloud-based service – Span is a cloud-based platform, which means users can get all the latest updates immediately.
- Solid-state illumination projector (ultrawide or full HD) – Enjoy 25,000 hours of carefree operation.
Why Choose the Nureva Span System
In addition to its exciting technology and unique set of features, Knowlton says the Nureva Span visual collaboration system stands out because of its focus on the user and customer experience. “This rabid focus on the user experience is a differentiator in the marketplace where we bring many years of customer perspective and experience," shared Knowlton. "And another thing we do is make things as easy as possible for users, even as we add more sophisticated technology and functionality. We are consistent across the board in regards to the user experience: using a product should not be frustrating.”
Nureva offers a free trial version for its Span system those who would like to share ideas, visualize workflows and solve problems. And for teams who would like to tap the full potential of their innovative collaboration system, Nureva offers Standard ($10 per user/per month) and Premium ($15 per user/per month) subscription plans.
To learn more about Nureva and see how their Span visual collaboration system can accelerate your team’s collaboration efforts, please visit Nureva’s website.
Nureva Inc. is an award-winning provider of collaboration solutions that enable content-rich ideation and problem-solving. The company’s solutions include the Span visual collaboration system, an expansive digital canvas and cloud-based software, and HDL300 audio conferencing system, an integrated, wall-mounted microphone and speaker system with Microphone Mist™ technology that delivers clear, natural sound for audio conferences. The company is based in Calgary, Alberta and in Ottawa, Ontario, and offers its products via its growing global network of dealers and distributors in North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.