Which Collaboration Tool Is Right For The Task At Hand?
By Editor

Posted June 02, 2009

We’re trying to answer this question from a facilitator’s perspective. Web collaboration tools should be a part of every facilitator’s toolkit, but knowing which one to use to support each aspect of the group process is key. Just as using a screwdriver to hammer in a nail wouldn’t work; using a web meeting tool for the wrong purpose could yield results you don’t intend. Here is a link to our first attempt at mapping different categories of web collaboration tools to different purposes, but we think that this concept would benefit from “collaborative” input. We invite you to suggest additions, subtractions and comments to make this chart more accurate and complete.

Here is the thought process behind this project:

  • Web-based collaboration tools offer great flexibility and potential cost savings to an organization by liberating team members from the constraints imposed by schedules, location, and time. The web allows us to “virtualize” meetings, forums and training to better support global work teams and remote workplaces. Webinars, web conferences and content management systems are becoming mainstream and offer real-time sharing of information across distance.
  • For the facilitator, the challenge is to not let the quality of the group interaction suffer as a result of the focus on efficiency and cost reduction.
  • We are aided in this by the latest generation of Web 2.0 tools, loosely categorized as social media, where we can see a set of social principles designed into the software that very closely match the core values of most facilitators. For example, facilitators are very concerned with accurately capturing the input of all participants, making sure all voices are heard, managing a meaningful decision making process and building trust within the group.
  • As examples, wikis allow participants to capture group knowledge, web-based meeting software enables groups to generate ideas anonymously and evaluate them and social applications like Twitter, Facebook, Attendr and LinkedIn create opportunities for teams to express their interests and values and build rapport.

Help us flesh out this concept based on your experience with the plethora of collaboration tools available today. Let us hear from you!

Posted by Editor