Does Rich Communication accelerate the velocity of collaboration?

164568733In my previous blog I talked about how some communications and collaboration technologies can lead to loneliness if they are used in a passive way.

I used my relative framework of communication enabled by different types of communications to show which communications technology tools will help us interact directly with others vs. simply having a passive connection.  By identifying and using these tools, we can create stronger relationships between workers in different locations vs. creating isolation and loneliness.

The tools which allow you to build these relationships are the ones that:

  1. Can be easily used between a few number of people
  2. Provide a high level of interactivity
  3. Provide the richest experience

I covered the first two criteria in the last blog and now I want to go deeper into the richness of the communication.

Richness of communication makes a big difference when we communicate.  The richer the communication the closer the communication becomes to being there.  We would generally all agree that being physically together to share an experience (to communicate) provides the most vivid and memorable experience – the richest experience.

But if you can only share an experience over a distance then it would make sense to use communications tools that would deliver the richest experience.  Like being there.

Richness of Experience is governed by the ability to share senses, information and ideas.

We have five basic senses – hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch. Most communications tools only use one or both of the first two senses – hearing and sight.   But the user experience over distance can vary greatly depending on the quality and magnification of the sensual experience.  If you think of video conferencing for example quality is governed by a number of factors (e.g. resolution or quality of service), which leads to a better quality picture and a continuous, uninterrupted video call.  The video experience can be further enhanced by the magnification of the image.  Screen real estate matters.

The second way the richness of experience is governed is by how information and ideas are shared.  I use a simple 3 x 3 matrix to illustrate the possibilities.

In the simplified example below I compare video conferencing to Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) conferencing.  The only difference between the two is that IWB allows participants to build ideas – truly collaborate – innovate visually.  To understand this concept in greater detail, refer to this blog.


Note: I say this example is simplified because although IWB solutions are able to share video of participants their ability to do this versus the purpose built video conferencing equipment is vastly different.

Now I am going to further develop the relative framework, which I mentioned above, to explore the richness of the communication.  I am going to add a third dimension, the “Richness of Experience”.  The image below shows how the “Richness of Experience” fits in the relative framework.


The red arrows show how the third dimension has been added.  The “Richness of Experience”, dimension is defined as going from “Low” to “High” just like the other dimensions in the relative framework.

Let’s explore this new dimension in greater detail by focusing on the bottom right quadrant – the blue/turquois one.  From my last blog we found that this is the quadrant which had the greatest concentration of communications tools that allowed people to better interact with each other.

This next figure is the blue quadrant viewing the “Richness of Experience” dimension head on.


Now I am going to layer on four different, but well known, conferencing technologies that have different “richness of experience” in a communication.

Slide09These conferencing technologies are:

  1. Audio conferencing
  2. Web conferencing
  3. Video conferencing
  4. Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) conferencing

I wrote a blog about this last year, which focused on creating the right balance of these technologies in your meeting rooms.

The figure below has the four conferencing technologies laid out from low to high “Richness of Experience” within the bottom right quadrant of the relative framework.


This is somewhat simplified as there are many nuances that come into play and not all these different conferencing types are required for each meeting type.  The point is that you can provide your workers much richer communication and collaboration experiences over distance by having the right communications tools available to them for personal use and for easy connection into corporate meeting spaces.  This blog explains this concept in greater detail.

The richer the communication experience the greater the velocity of collaboration you can achieve in your organization.  Here is the formula for greater collaboration success.


ET Group has helped many organizations increase the velocity of collaboration in their organizations and organizations that collaborate better perform better in many ways.

Contact us to discuss how we might be able to help your organization.

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