Lessons Learned 5: Online Collaboration and Co-creation
One of the aims of this course was to include external partners in our project in a form of collaboration, to facilitate the co-creation. The school offered a company that had provided us with the challenge for this course (I wrote more about it on “Introduction - or what is all about” ) but also encouraged to search more partners and involve outside sources to have a broader perspective on the topic with practice based knowledge.
Our industrial partner is located abroad so our entire project was built via Skype and emails. During the project we needed to create a bridge between us and the industrial and academic supervisors, in order to have a complete communication. It was very important for us to be fast in responding to meetings invitations and to schedule them early. Even so, it was one moment when we discussed about the next meeting, but we as managers didn't send the official email invitation, so we ended up rescheduling the meeting one week before because the initial time slot was already occupied with something else. Also, there were some moments when we didn’t send reminders or asked for meeting confirmations and that costs us the actual meeting.
We have tried to co-create and have some interactive workshops together, but using online communication was not the best chanel. Still, we manage to share our ideas and prototypes by sharing the screen, so our partner was able to see what we are talking about in real time.
Not sending invitations in advance and not ensuring that our partners have booked the meetings in their agendas have had a negative effect by not having complete team meetings (the participants were not updated and they didn’t show up) and rescheduling it in a very short time. It was not so easy because everyone had a very busy calendar.
Also, online communication hindered us on having a proper co-creative collaboration. This is a risk that distant communication has, but we still established the collaboration itself, with a lot of information exchanged and fruitful outcome. A big role is played by the individuals, because we were able to use the current technology and to establish an wonderful relation.
- You should have a discipline when you are working online, and ensure that the meetings are scheduled in everyone's agenda (not just verbal), are confirmed by each person and are kept updated by sending reminders 2-3 days in advance.
- In an online collaboration, the messages must be very clear. One way to do it is to share your computer screen, so you partner can see the materials that you are talking about in real time. Also, it means that you have to prepare in advance with a powerpoint presentation or other documents that are easy to be followed.