Cool Tools for Collaboration?

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Why is it that cool, new tools seem to make us all want to be more collaborative?

Can they effectively make a difference? It has been proven that collaborative software can yield a significant ROI, but to effectively encourage collaboration within a company, are these 'toys' really necessary?

Day-to-day, this 'hysteria' can be seen by the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of iPad promotions touted on company's websites, from CNET and Amazon to the Florida Department of Education. Is it simply a quick gimmick to gain attention for their product/service by tying it to the current phenomenon, or is there an inherent link between the new technology and their offering, that actually encourages superior collaboration?

As expected, there are success stories at the high end of the scale. For example, everyone is familiar with the ultimate collaboration/interaction tool, the Smart Board, or the Collaboration Wall depending on your term of preference. Check it out in action on this video, or see it in action every day on CNN.

This is created by Perceptive Pixel and is too expensive for almost any individual or small company. There are countless other companies offering similar offerings, but none that can match Perceptive Pixel. 

But then Apple comes along with the iPad and suddenly this exclusive high end collaborative tool is now revolutionizing the masses. Hospitals are buying them in the hundreds because they are perceived to make their doctors more efficient, collaborative and patient focused: "This is going to make my day easier and patient safety better."  Small companies are jumping on board to impress their clients and individuals are purchasing this flashy, new toy, claiming it to be less expensive then buying a new computer while also touting it as the future of education for their young kids.

When you pair this touch, surface, interactive computing with the thousands of business applications that are being built to directly impact our work effectiveness and interpersonal collaboration (as well as revolutionize industries), we're left to wonder what the long-term social ramifications might be...But that's probably best saved for another post!



For now, enjoy the toys, (I mean collaboration tools!) and share your thoughts on how you think they might make us more or less collaborative. Only time will tell.