Collaborating in Small, Occaionally Collaborating Team (not business tasks!)
There are so many collaboration tools for businesses that require logins and continuous communication and tasks and status updates... but there are countless needs for collaboration amongst groups who share similar interests, but don't want to be at the end of never ending email back and forth conversations. Or just another site to have to visit.
So why not take advantage of some of the latest friend or private social networking apps. They are simple and very easy to turn Push Notifications OFF!
Kibits - designed for distributed teams, it is a very simple way to communicate around topics at your own pace
Groupme - designed more as a consumer tool, it is very easy to use it in topic orientated distributed teams
Everyme - people who don't have the app don't need to get it to reply. Works similar to Groupme
Groups - white label, customizable, social - with tons of features to integrate private collaboration across disparate groups. More difficult and targeted towards a different market, but very workable nonetheless
But you can always do:
Google Groups - chances are that you are already on one of these email chains that can go on forever!
LinkedIn Group - certainly the safest way to go. Public or private. Huge benefit for everyone to be connected on LinkedIn which none of the other options offer
Private Facebook - Facebook is the toughest for businesses and business people to accept using even though it is easily one of the best ways
Twitter - Hashtags (#) - why not just make it public!
Twitter - There are also lots of apps available that can start private twitter conversations
GroupTweet- or make it more interesting by letting everyone publish from the same twitter account
And then there are the big players in the market that focus more on task and project management, but could be equally valuable and at least worth considering: Podio - A small take-over by Citrix - everyone can log in with their same email to decide what and how to access. Yammer - A hug microsoft play now. Private network for your company.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART HOWEVER IS HOW THESE TOOLS ARE INTRODUCED AND INTEGRATED WITH THE GROUP. Here is a recommendation:
Here is an exercise/module you can run:
Divide the group into "Kotter Groups" to test out the different ways of communicating going forward. Have them discuss what has and hasn't worked in the past and what the objectives for this group continually collaborating in the future.
Introduce an app or tool (from list above or others) - 1 per Kotter Group - and have them test it out. What do they like? Not like? How can its function be adapted?
Each team pitches why the entire group should use it. At the end of the 2 minute pitches, have the group discuss and ask final questions.
Vote. Allow each individual person to vote.
If the groups intends to move forward, time should be dedicated to everyone simulating a virtual discussion. The room should be comletely silent except for typing fingers for their first test. The group than can discuss best practices or guiding principles for their communication going forward.
Check out other collaboration exercises you can run yourself.