Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Manage Creative Collaboration Among Virtual Teams

Collaboration is a must in today's networked business environment. But one of the hardest things to nail is communicating regularly with far flung teams. At LitLamp, one of our goals for 2013 is to master the right tools for virtual brainstorming and to divvy up project tasks.  My email boxes groan from the bloat of trying to stay on top of things. That's got to stop.

I love the fact that the cloud offers so many possibilities for communicating as we work more collaboratively. My team is scouting tools to help us meet our 2013 goal of fluent communication in all our collaborations so that we keep up the rigor without killing the creativity. 

Here’s a handy list of collaboration tools sourced by the folks over at Simply Zesty. Anyone else got a story or reco to share?

- The Next Web has asked a number of young entrepreneurs what their favourite collaboration tools are.

 - Philip Oakley focuses on Google products and shows the seven best services for business collaboration and planning.

- Atlassian Blogs looks at collaboration and discuss the three reasons why working together is so difficult.

- If your company leans more towards design services, Creative Blog lists the ten best collaboration tools for designers.

- Michael Corkery, CEO and CFO of Delteck, write about the ways you can get employees to use social collaboration tools.

- Aaron Rudget and Venkatesh Giri write for VentureBeat where they show how different collaboration tools suit different companies.

- Fox Business presents what feels are the four best web collaboration tools out there.

- PSFK offers a number of the “best examples that supported the theme of ‘Enterprise Collaboration Tools'.”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

5 Ideas for Holiday Giving in a New Economy

Photo by Alice Harold
If your year-end is like our year-end, it's stuffed with deadlines and year-end reporting, as well as projections and strategy for 2013. Add to that a long list of holiday parties and all of the errands that go with year-end holiday festivities - gifts, party preparations, travel, decorating - and it seems as if December is a whirlwind of demands.

Here are a few gift ideas that can simplify your holiday season, and get an enthusiastic response from the Millennials on your list:

1) The new economy is increasingly about collaborative consumption. Rather than focusing on giving objects, give access to services, such as IGO Cars here in Chicago or Zipcar nationwide. Instead of a DVD, give a Netflix or new RedBox streaming subscription.

2) Give a tool that gives access, such as an ebook reader. For older relatives, a tablet can be a user-friendly way to keep in touch via FaceTime or Skype, and the voice-to-text features can be helpful for slow or out-of-practice typers.

3) Give a gift that supports your community. Support your local entrepreneurs and artisans by giving something handmade. Sites like Etsy or Zazzle can help you find something unique in your area. A gift of fresh produce from a local farm with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription is a great inspiration for foodies, or give a gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant. Supporting local and independent businesses, especially if you pay with cash, keeps money within your community. You can also support your global community by buying products like JustShea that create a greater good.

4) Give an experience. Millennials are hungry for experiences and want the opportunity to see the world up close. Plan a family vacation or a service-oriented volunteer trip abroad or domestically. Closer to home, plan a day to be a tourist in your city, attend a show or a music festival together, or volunteer as a group with a local charity. Spending time away from the distractions of screens builds the human connections that Millennials crave.

5) Teach a man to fish. Give those in your family the gift of your time and expertise. Offer to show a family member your secret recipe, teach them to do your favorite craft, or use your professional skill set to help them start a business, design an album cover, or build a website. Start a woodworking or home improvement project together, or literally teach them to fish.

Have a stress-free and collaborative holiday!

Guest post by Ellen Willett

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Android Users Aren't Using Their Phones

An interesting story came across my desk recently. Apparently, despite capturing 75% of the smartphone market, Android phone users just aren't doing anything with their phones.

To me, the facts quoted raise more questions than answers. This 2011 infographic from Hunch outlines a few demographic differences in Android users vs. iOS users (even down to breakfast cereal preferences). Is the key factor in Android usage a platform problem, as Business Insider suggests? Or, is it primarily a cultural difference in the users themselves or the the brand personality of the devices?

Even more interesting, Millennial users 18-34 skew towards Android. Apple may want to take note of the factors that are making Android devices so attractive to this key demographic.

To stay competitive, both Android and iOS will need to figure out what the other half is doing on their phones. Android users, weigh in. What ARE you doing on your phone?
Infographic by Column Five Media
Guest post by Ellen Willett