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chris munyala 10 top tools for business brainstorming and collaboration by Scott Gerber — Jul 14, 2012 in Apps 10 top tools for business brainstorming and collaboration 66 677 shares As more startups migrate their companies to the cloud, it can be difficult to gather the entire team for a productive collaboration session. Not only does everyone need to be in the same place at the same time, but they’ve got to come prepared with their creative juices, focused mindsets and positive attitudes. However, with endless digital distractions that thrive in browser tabs and fit into the palms of our hands, keeping everyone on the same “page” isn’t easy. But regardless of whether your team members are working remotely or in the cubicles around you, a handful of online tools can ensure that your next brainstorming meeting will be full of fresh ideas and effective communication among your employees. We’re organizing a decentralized event in London It’s all about cryptocurrency and blockchain More info I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs the following question: What’s your favorite new digital tool for collaboration or brainstorming and why? Here are 10 business-changing tools for joining mental forces with your team members and putting your skills together for projects: 1. Producteev for Productive Collaboration Doreen Bloch “I highly recommend cross-platform tool Producteev for collaboration. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and fantastic for team members who are working on many projects at the same time with others. There is space to comment on projects to maximize productive collaboration, and it’s all about getting tasks done.” –Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc. 2. Try the New Basecamp “The revamped Basecamp from 37signals has taken collaboration to a new level. It’s completely redesigned and rethought, and I can see the impact on our team already. It’s no Google Wave, but I’ll recommend it to anyone.” –John Meyer, 9 Clouds 3. Facebook Member Pages Work Kelly Azevedo “Closed Facebook groups are nothing new, but I love how many mastermind communities are shifting into the platform to meet users where they already spend hours each day. In one such group, requests are posted around the clock, and it’s not unusual to see colleagues giving feedback and collaborating across time zones and over weeks and months.” –Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems 4. Trust the Team With Teambox Logan Lenz “We switched over to Teambox as our main project management system a few months ago. I have been pleasantly surprised by the unique functionalities it offers teams. Every week, I post conversations in a “New Idea” project that is then discussed in real time. The platform really allows everyone to piggyback on other ideas in order to come with something truly collaborative.” –Logan Lenz, Endagon 5. Stick With What Works, Google Docs John Hall “It’s not new but it’s solid. We use Google Docs for everything. In my opinion, it’s the simplest way to have multiple people work on one document and keep things organized.” –John Hall, Digital Talent Agents 6. Join.me All the Way! Matthew Ackerson “Check out Join.me. It’s a super simple screen-sharing tool that I’ve been using recently, ever since I realized that Skype screen-sharing is terrible, especially when you’re working with someone on the other side of the country. It takes three minutes to install, and you’ve able to give or take away control from your collaborator. It’s also great for sales presentations.” –Matthew Ackerson, PetoVera 7. Go Zoho for Online Editing Aaron Schwartz “Zoho allows you to collaborate with its online Wiki, edit Word and Excel documents, and have live discussions. Brainstorming through email or any static site is incredibly difficult, as you lose the dynamic interaction of all participants. Sometimes, the energy created from a response is as important as the content of the comment. Zoho allows you to collaborate in real time.” –Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches 8. Asana Is Online Zen “I’ve been using Asana a lot recently for collaboration and deadlines, and it’s got a simplicity and ease of use that’s hard to find elsewhere. It’s also free if you’ve got a small team, which helps keep your overhead low.” –Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle 9. Hammer Away on Yammer Bhavin Parikh “Yammer is much more than a company social network. Our Yammer feed has a constant stream of new ideas, articles and more. It’s a safe zone where we encourage employees to think differently without worrying about the minutiae. Yammer has facilitated cross-departmental collaboration and made our company more innovative.” –Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh, Inc. 10. Work and Play With Skype Heather Huhman “Although it’s been around for a while, I still use Skype on a daily basis for collaboration. It’s great for brainstorming with my team, checking in with clients, and even a little “watercooler” chat — which can be challenging to spark with a completely virtual company.” –Heather Huhman, Come Recommended Image credit: Arquera This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW. Read next: Clemency petition for The Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde passes 20k signatures Share on Facebook (29) Share on Twitter (577) Most popular 1 Indian teen threatens to blow up Miami airport to avenge stolen Bitcoin Neer Varshney 23 hours ago 2 How to stop Apple from throttling your ageing iPhone Callum Booth 18 hours ago 3 The Facebook ad-pocalypse is coming, so spend your budget on creativity Dominic Vaiana 1 day ago 4 A 5G iPhone might arrive in 2020 Ivan Mehta 1 day ago 5 Tokyo travelers can now rent a limousine with Bitcoin Matthew Beedham 21 hours ago Never miss out Stay tuned with our weekly recap of what’s hot & cool by our CEO Boris. Join over 260,000 subscribers! Who's Hiring Add your company Latest 1 Facebook's AI knows how likely you are to evacuate during a hurricane Tristan Greene 9 hours ago 2 Red Dead Redemption 2’s story cuts deep and burns slow Rachel Kaser 13 hours ago 3 IBM’s blockchain-powered AR gaming system is dangerously flawed Mix 15 hours ago 4 Xprize winning air-water conversion device leaves us thirsty for more Vishwam Sankaran 16 hours ago 5 Here's what a Bitcoin address does (and why you definitely shouldn't reuse it) David Canellis 16 hours ago 3 ways the blockchain industry is slowly moving towards gender equality by Ailsa Sherrington — 3 days ago in Hard Fork 3 ways the blockchain industry is slowly moving towards gender equality Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso 158 shares Research from eToro, conducted earlier this year, indicates that blockchain is witnessing a major gender divide – only 8.5 percent of cryptocurrency users are female. It’s obviously a problem. As we move into a new era of blockchain and cryptocurrency, one where it could potentially become universally adopted, it’s clear that the voices and opinions of women – and everyone, really – are needed to help us get there. We’ve noticed that things are moving in the right direction, and it’s encouraging to see. At our blockchain event, Hard Fork Decentralized, we’re offering women an 85-percent discount on tickets to lessen the inevitable gender gap that’s become inherent at industry conferences. We’re not alone, either. Here are some others who actively promote a gender-balanced blockchain future, in a variety of different ways: Women in power Recently, a Swiss cryptocurrency association announced that they needed more female leaders. Local news reported that they would appoint two new female board members, following accusations that it had become a “boy’s club.” While it’s slowly becoming more normalized to see women in power in the industry, it’s still big news when it happens. Take, for example, this article on IBM’s female-led blockchain team, which still has to explain the merits of the women in charge. My hope is that in 20 years’ time, a woman’s qualifications won’t need to be so heavily used as justification. Education Lightning Labs co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Stark announced scholarships for female blockchain devs in New York City earlier this year, in an aim to lessen the gender divide. This isn’t just happening in Western countries, either. In Afghanistan, where it’s common for women to not have access to their own money, cryptocurrency can be a very empowering tool. Code to Inspire, a nonprofit coding school for girls in Herat, Afghanistan, trains women in technical literacy so they can have financial and social independence. The #MeToo Movement In China, activists have turned to blockchain in order to document the stories of sexual assault victims. In retaliation to government censorship on social media, using blockchain is a way of ensuring that these stories are never altered or destroyed. It’s not a perfect solution, as the government can still take down websites that allow for this documentation on the blockchain, but it’s inspiring to see women use the technology to stand their ground and make their voices heard. All of these efforts are paving the way for a gender-equal blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. We’ve certainly got a long way to go – there’s so much more to be done – but these examples are a great step in the right direction. At Hard Fork Decentralized, we’ve invited some inspiring women to share their ideas, perspectives, and experiences about the future of blockchain. We’ll be hosting Kavita Gupta, Founding Managing Partner at ConsenSys, Margarita Khartanovich, Editor-in-Chief at Binary District, Ayelet Noff, Founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, and more. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned blockchain expert or simply interested in learning about cryptocurrency – there’s something for everyone. You can get our 85-percent discount on tickets right here. We can’t wait to see you in London on December 12-14! Read next: Ethereum blockchaining is changing the web. This $29 course package will show you how. Hard Fork DecentralizedInsights Share on Facebook (68) Share on Twitter (77) Most popular 1 How to stop Apple from throttling your ageing iPhone Callum Booth 18 hours ago 2 Indian teen threatens to blow up Miami airport to avenge stolen Bitcoin Neer Varshney 23 hours ago 3 The Facebook ad-pocalypse is coming, so spend your budget on creativity Dominic Vaiana 1 day ago 4 A 5G iPhone might arrive in 2020 Ivan Mehta 1 day ago 5 Tokyo travelers can now rent a limousine with Bitcoin Matthew Beedham 21 hours ago Never miss out Stay tuned with our weekly recap of what’s hot & cool by our CEO Boris. Join over 260,000 subscribers! Who's Hiring Add your company Latest 1 7 cringeworthy investing mistakes you need to fix today, say experts Andrea Hak 11 minutes ago 2 Opera for Android now automatically blocks those irritating cookie notifications Matthew Hughes 1 hour ago 3 Tencent to limit some mobile gamers to an hour of play time per day Bryan Clark 6 hours ago 4 Facebook's AI knows how likely you are to evacuate during a hurricane Tristan Greene 9 hours ago 5 Red Dead Redemption 2’s story cuts deep and burns slow Rachel Kaser 13 hours ago We need a button that makes us ‘invisible’ to creepy AI by Anouk Vleugels — 5 months ago in Tech We need a button that makes us ‘invisible’ to creepy AI 99 shares Woman A: “Hello. How can I help you?” Woman B: “Hi. I’m calling to book a woman’s haircut for a client. I’m looking for something on May 3.” Woman A: “Sure. Give me one second — sure. What time are you looking for around?” Woman B: “At 12 p.m.” Most of you will recognize this phone conversation. Not because it was particularly exciting, but because, as was revealed later, neither voices were human. They were AI-generated bots impersonating humans, created by Google. Although this first onstage demo of Google Duplex, as the new technology is called, was pre-recorded, the audience was left in awe. With its many “umms” and “ahs,” the conversation sounds completely natural. And everyone listening to the recording will come to the same conclusion: that could have fooled me too. “At first, I thought it was phenomenal. But my second thought was: How long before someone starts exploiting this?” says Mark Rolston when we discuss the demo. He’s the founder and Chief Creative of argodesign and an expert on human-computer interaction. Dark interactions “Technology should be beautiful, useful, and invisible,” reads the tagline on argodesign’s website. A mantra that Rolston, the designer, still lives by, but that Rolston, the human, is increasingly worried about. At least, about the invisible part. Because now that new tracking technologies and smart sensors keep popping up in our offices and streets, we often interact with machines without realizing it. These dark interactions, as he calls them, are human-computer exchanges that happen unconsciously in the background. One of the most simple examples is the motion sensor. It senses your movements and turns on the lights, or opens a door. A human-sounding digital assistant booking appointments, like Google Duplex, is obviously of a different caliber. To be clear, the term “dark” should not be interpreted as “bad” or “gloomy” — it merely means the interactions happen without us being conscious of them. Which can be wonderful in many ways, says Rolston. “The bright side is that these technologies make life a little more elegant; sometimes even magical. But we do need a trust infrastructure so those same technologies are unable to know us in ways we prefer not to be known.” China’s very own 1984 One of the most troubling scenarios is currently playing out in China, where an evolving algorithmic surveillance system is used to keep tabs on its citizens. Recently, a Chinese fugitive was picked out of a crowd of 60,000 people at a pop concert by an AI-powered facial recognition system. And it’s not just criminals who can be tracked in public: everybody is under surveillance and the Chinese government has unlimited power to process the gathered data. In the city of Shenzhen, local police are already using facial recognition technology to reduce jaywalking — large billboards show jaywalkers’ faces and family names to publicly shame them. Will we see similar technologies in western countries? Oh yes, says Rolston, though they probably will be implemented in a less pervasive, more contractual way. “Think of it like this: When we go through security at the airport, we don’t necessarily enjoy the body scans and the facial recognition technology. But we suffer it for that moment. You can imagine other specific occasions in which we would temporarily tolerate a lower level of privacy.” Garbage bins spying on you To be fair, most smart sensors in the public sphere have other purposes than surveillance; some don’t even gather human data. Systems that control street lights or detect when garbage bins are full won’t be invading anyone’s privacy. However, when that same garbage bin sensor is tracking wifi signals from people’s phones to show targeted advertisements, which happened in London in 2013, it becomes a completely different story. The same goes for the workplace, where smart sensors and other tracking devices can be very useful. Air quality and decibel levels can be measured to maintain a comfortable working environment. Smart lighting systems know when to turn the lights off to not waste energy. Most office workers wouldn’t mind those systems running quietly in the background and collecting data. But what about technologies that can transcribe what’s said in meetings, in real-time? Microsoft recently showed a demo of Microsoft Build, a system that combines audio and video to create a live text feed of what’s said. “Again, the technology itself is very convenient,” says Rolston. (He’s right: I’d love for technology to automatically transcribe our one-hour long conversation, something I had to do manually for this article.) But, he adds, it’s also hugely exploitative. What if some employees don’t realize it’s transcribing and start shit-talking their boss?” Real-time transcription in Microsoft Build Drunk on technology The number of dark interactions we encounter on a daily basis will only increase in the coming years, making it impossible to always know which data we are sharing for what purposes. The solution, according to Rolston, should come in the form of an off-button — a piece of technology that allows us to become anonymous whenever we want. “Our smartphones all have a ‘mute’ switch, right? Now imagine another switch that just says ‘invisible’. You switch it on and all the microphones, sensors and cameras immediately ignore you — you no longer exist in that room.” Though Rolston believes more governmental regulation is needed — he’s keen to see how GDPR will affect American tech companies — consumers need to change their ways, too. “We are still so drunk on the free and the new — mainly because the digital market is still so young. Because of that, we set aside judgments we normally would assign to products we use.” Rolston thinks the tech industry has some maturing to do. But what if consumers do understand the implications of using technology that’s free, know their data is being used to the benefit of third parties, and just don’t care? Facebook was confronted with one of the biggest scandals in its existence and still managed to generate a 63 percent rise in profit as well as an increase in users. Many, many stupid things “It’s just not sustainable,” says Rolston. “I envision this era as a large bow: the arrow is currently being pulled back but will be released at some point.” Rolston is not exactly sure what will happen once the string bounces back. “In case of China, it’s easy to claim their surveillance system will only have negative consequences, that its society will become like in Orwell’s 1984. The truth is, we just don’t know. So I guess that depends on your view on humanity.” With all his talk of doom and gloom, Rolston still labels himself an optimist. “Churchill once said about the Americans: ‘You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.’ I think that applies to all humans. We try many, many stupid things but at the same time, the state of humanity is still better now than any other times in history. So we will rise above, eventually. After having tried everything else.” This post is brought to you by EDGE Technologies, a company specialized in developing smart, high-tech office buildings that promote workplace health. Share on Facebook (35) Share on Twitter (61) Show Edit Destroy
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manyonge chris BETA This is a BETA experience. You may opt-out by clicking Billionaires Innovation Leadership Money Consumer Industry Lifestyle Featured BrandVoice Lists Forbes CommunityVoice Connecting expert communities to the Forbes audience.What is This? 6,100 viewsMay 21, 2018, 08:30am 15 Ways To Encourage Creative Idea Sharing From All Team Members Forbes Communications Council Forbes Communications Council CommunityVoice Forbes Communications Council Post written by Forbes Communications Council Communications, PR, public affairs & media relations executives from Forbes Communications Council share firsthand insights. Marketers have the exciting -- and often challenging -- task of generating a steady stream of creative campaign ideas for their companies or clients. One person alone can't come up with all the concepts and collateral needed for these campaigns, so marketing leaders rely on the diverse viewpoints and imaginations of their teams. However, it's not always easy to get everyone to share their brilliant ideas. Your introverted staff members may be less inclined to speak up during meetings, and sometimes people are stuck in creative ruts and need a little motivation. Here's what 15 Forbes Communications Council members recommend doing to encourage everyone on your team to bring their campaign ideas to the table. These communications executives share tips for getting input and ideas from your team.All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members. 1. Make it personal. Whether a personal interest is really niche or shared by many, start there. You'll be amazed by the parallels you find with your professional work, and people enjoy discovering different ways of thinking about their work. From basketball to music to science, when the team starts with what they personally care about, they create whole new avenues for interesting content. - John Steinert, techtarget.com 2. Schedule regular team brainstorms. Build ongoing brainstorm sessions into the weekly or monthly meeting rhythm. This creates a culture of open engagement and ensures your team that their ideas are valued. For all ideas selected, follow up with incentives. Even a small gift card, a lunch out with you or access to company products and services goes a long way to show appreciation and fuel future innovation. - Janine Robertson, Insect Shield Repellent Technology 3. Build the right environment. As a leader, your role is to knock down walls and develop an environment that evokes creative thinking from your team. The team needs to feel that their voice is appreciated and that they have room to do cool things. Let them test their ideas, see what works and what could be improved, and make sure they know that they have to opportunity to do so. - Noah Mithrush, Evisions YOU MAY ALSO LIKE 4. Create innovation zones. When office spaces are inviting and open, there are unlimited opportunities for team members to provide new and creative input. Our office includes a separate innovation area designed specifically for team collaboration. This space is bright and open, and our marketing teams regularly leverage that space for brainstorming and planning new marketing campaigns. - Jennifer Best, ConnectYourCare 5. Be transparent with overall business goals. The more teams know about changing goals and new opportunities for the business, the more involved they will feel in its success. Creative marketing ideas stem naturally from the desire to participate in the company's growth and awareness of the right direction. The resulting successful marketing campaigns compound the benefits on a morale level and reinforce employee loyalty. - Courtney Dale, ICM Consulting and Media Corporation 6. Ask the team what they want to learn. One of the best ways to engage your team is by asking what they'd like to learn. For example, if someone says "video content," develop a project that encourages them to dive deep into what you are already doing, research competitors in the space and present strategy ideas. This project will help them to structure feedback and learn more from the experience than just sharing a few early ideas. - Mandy Menaker, Shapr 7. Create a rotating culture. Repurposing the same teams for similar tasks may seem like the easiest approach to resource allocation, but switching things up can stimulate new brainstorming ideas. To help foster more creativity, consider rotating teams, desk arrangements and assignments. This allows your team to step out of their comfort zones and interact with different team members on a deeper level, which can spark new ideas. - Seamas Egan, j2 Global 8. Build a shared, centralized idea bank. Within our intranet, I created an indexable database for our team to add campaign retrospectives and ideas that can be accessed throughout the company. It makes it easy to type in a keyword tag when creating a new campaign to find relevant ideas from our idea bank. Ongoing brainstorming sessions are also a must to get the creative juices flowing and sharing knowledge and ideas across the board. - Hannah Taylor, Ironistic 9. Give them feedback. Give them feedback on their work. Show them how their work has produced real results and why. Give them access to all the tools in your company that measure the results of your marketing campaigns to help them analyze the results. For example, if you involve a person in researching topics on a blog, show them what makes blog posts popular. - Pawel Kijko, TimeCamp Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify? 10. Encourage mistakes. One of the best ways to encourage creative ideas is by making it really clear that mistakes are not just tolerated but encouraged. Understanding that not all creative ideas are going to be wins creates a comfortable environment to brainstorm ideas and walk through new concepts. Mistakes are part of every creative process, and making room for them allows for innovative thinking. - Fahima Anwar, A List Profiles 11. Outline campaign objectives. As a marketing leader, you're more likely to get creative ideas from your teams by having clear goals associated with the campaigns in question and creating a safe environment in which people feel comfortable sharing their ideas. It can also help to give people the opportunity to contribute in writing after a brainstorming meeting. - Serge Vartanov, AutoGravity 12. Foster cross-functional conversations. Momentum builds when you can bring members from your organization's various departments together to deliver ideation and execution. A product marketer can offer UX delivery that elevates a brand marketing idea. An analytical wizard will know the best ways to capture data. The content, social and PR teams all add relevance. An idea is only a seed; it takes a cross-functional team to bring it alive. - Judy Herbst, Worthy Inc 13. Feed their brains. Schedule educational activities into your team's work week. My team and I listen to the same branding audio books or the latest marketing lectures over a similar period of time. Each person then interprets this newly acquired information differently, resulting in a whole spectrum of ideas to share during weekly marketing pow-wow (i.e. brainstorming) meetings. - Sean P Finelli, The Roman Guy 14. Offer positive reinforcement. Sometimes the best way to encourage a team member is to not discourage them. If a team member suggests an idea that obviously will not work or is even irrelevant, don't put them down, especially in front of others. If they have a great idea in the future, they may hesitate or refuse to share for fear of being mocked. Foster an environment where there are no bad ideas. - Stephan Baldwin, franchisegator.com 15. Democratize idea creation. People who are shy about sharing their ideas usually feel their ideas are not great and they may look bad in front of their colleagues. Assert that no ideas are dumb and that you welcome all ideas. Let your team submit ideas via email or one on one. Discuss submitted ideas anonymously in team meetings so everyone can hear about them and let people choose the idea that they like the best. - Anshu Agarwal, Cedexis Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for senior-level communications and public relations executives. Find out if you qualify at forbescommcouncil.com/qualify Print Site Feedback Tips Corrections Reprints & Permissions Terms Privacy ©2018 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. AdChoices Video Player is loading. Current Time 0:00 / Duration 3:15 Show Edit Destroy
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