At any one time, society is awash with words, phrases, comments that are very ‘du jour’; some people believe that, by using them, they impart an air of knowledge and being current. For others, they prompt a subtle rolling of the eyes. Unfortunately, ‘collaboration’ has occasionally fallen victim to this attitude…a little unfairly in our view, so we wanted to redress the balance and fight collaboration’s corner 🙂

A quick peek at a thesaurus tells us that synonyms of collaboration include: association, collusion, partnership, participation, and teamwork. Other than ‘collusion’ which has slightly dastardly connotations, we think you could use any of those words in a business context and everyone would know what you mean. For some reason, collaboration still suffers a bit.

At Oval, we’ve been avid users and purveyors of an online collaboration platform for the last 6+ years (it’s called Podio, in case you’re wondering!). We use it in pretty much every business process – CRM, project planning, management and tracking, helpdesk services, billing, file sharing, business development…even sharing details of our favourite films and recipes with our teammates!

Alongside the obvious benefits of transparency and automation (did we mention that many collaboration systems enable you to automate those tasks that you carry out on a regular basis as part of a process? Win!), you also do away with hideous emailing-of-attachments scenarios. And emails entirely, if that’s something you’re looking to embrace.

We don’t use the actual word ‘collaboration’ much in general conversation (it’d be a bit of a mouthful if nothing else), but it IS what we are doing. To refer to my earlier list of synonyms:

•  We’re associating with each other and – in many cases – our clients, working together to make sure everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and has clear sight of the latest progress/news/update

•  We participate in conversations, all at the same time, but in an ordered, visible, and recorded manner. The joy of activity streams and comment threads, is that information is available at all times, wherever you are, and whenever you’re there. Everyone is always abreast of everything that is relevant to them.

•  Teamwork then happens by default.

We would encourage any eye rollers/doubters to put their reservations to one side for a moment, and have a think about what collaboration in its purest form as a word means to them. If it makes you feel better, think of it more in terms of ‘transparent, live business tracking. It makes our lives a whole heap easier and less stressful; it could be the same for you!