Secret. Ongoing inspiration, brainstorming, problem solving and learning with others rarely happens in your inbox. To truly tap into the collective power of your team and/or extended peer community requires getting out of your daily e-mail stream and interacting in a more fluid and contextual digital environment with a human face.
Six months ago, I introduced my innovation team to a fantastic cloud-based project collaboration tool called Basecamp and their adoption of it blew my initial expectations away. So how did this simple platform motivate individuals to ‘get out of their inboxes’ and continuously engage one another as if they were all co-located in one place? From my experience, I’ve believe there are three powerful reasons why Basecamp can help you keep the collaboration love-fest going with your teams:
1 – Puts a Face with the Post
The simple act of being able to upload a personal photo of oneself and create an identity is often under appreciated. Each time someone posts an article, discussion comment or shares a file you get a visual reminder of your colleague that is inherently more personal. It’s as if your virtual teammate actually came by your desk to personally talk or drop off a document…something we took for granted back in the days when more people were co-located at offices. Seeing my team’s faces repeatedly through our Basecamp workspace builds trust, respect and motivation to respond – all essential elements when it comes to building and maintaining strong working relationships.
2 – Shakes Hands with your Inbox
For most of us, our e-mail inbox is still ‘central command’ when it comes to managing the daily information flow. Basecamp respects and leverages our modern e-mail culture by smartly integrating e-mail notification preferences on two levels. For each post to the platform, users have the option to (a) Notify all participants, (b) Notify selected participants (hint, be editorial!) or (c) Just post without notifying anyone. Users can also set a broader set of e-mail notification preferences that suit their communication style. For example, the platform will send out a ‘Daily Recap’ to your inbox of all the posts that occurred for the previous day that you can choose to receive. I personally find the daily e-mail to be a great way to catch-up on the collaboration action plus serve as a motivator for me to go in and regularly view particular posts that caught my eye.
3 – Simplifies the all the Project Management Mumbo Jumbo
I don’t know about you, but I find e-mail a cumbersome way to keep track of to-dos, discussions and all types of project documentation. Basecamp helps you easily tackle the big stuff with a to-do list bulletin board (that will e-mail when a task is marked as ‘completed’), shared events calendar (e-mails a reminder for specific upcoming event) and file archive. No more e-mail dumpster diving!
Don’t just take my word for it – try it yourself. I think you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to set up a Basecamp space and get collaborating with others – for more feature details, check out Basecamp’s own one-page project overview. Personally, I’m hopeful that cloud-based collaboration and messaging services will become the new standards for human interaction – the inbox has ruled long enough.
Photo Credits: Images sourced from 37 Signals, Inc.