Inform, learn, exchange ideas with others – we are increasingly shifting our communications and collaboration increasingly into the virtual world. This development started decades ago and now increasingly includes creating together. It is driven by globalization, technological progress (digitization) and the demand for efficiency. The impending climate catastrophe and the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) both show us that it can be reasonable and extremely necessary to virtualize collaboration with others.
„The next few months are set to be a giant experiment in whether new technologies can allow successful mass remote working for employees, speeding up the reinvention of the office. And for firms already worried about rickety supply chains amid a trade war, the virus gives another reason to reconfigure them.“The Economist (05.03.2020)
Our attempts to collaborate virtually with others are mostly limited. We focus on technical feasibility and lose sight of crucial aspects of working with others – in the truest sense. For this reason, virtual collaboration lags far behind what we know and appreciate from dealing directly with people. For some it is proven that virtual collaboration does not work, and they reject such solutions, while others celebrate technological progress and downplay the obvious weaknesses. Both sides are right and wrong. The absolute openness to technology, if it tends to ignore psychological and social aspects, should be criticized just as much as the resistance and ignorance with which one can lightly dismiss its actual potential. At the same time, even the providers of digital solutions are not clear how they can successfully virtualize analogue experiences.
„How exactly each big tech company will pivot its conference to a virtual one remains to be seen. Summer developer conferences are a place for big keynotes and announcements, but they’re also essential for developers who get a chance to mingle with engineers who work on big platforms and with each other.“The Verge (12.03.2020)
The biggest challenge is to transfer the positive experiences of the real world into the virtual space. Where this is not possible, we must find an adequate substitute or, through a combination of the analog and digital worlds, find compromises that result in virtuosity for dealing with the options available to us. Particularly, in addition to the reasonable focus on rational content, we must invest significantly more energy to strengthen the social and emotional aspects of collaboration.
But what can this exactly look like and what other possibilities does the virtual world offer us? And what does all this mean for us?
In the past few days, we have thought about these questions based on our experience even more intensively than before. First of all, it became a series of findings, then a presentation and finally a toolbox that everyone can use. Please visit one of our free webinars and download our presentation on the subject.
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