Tag Archives: collaboration

Spritz – a revolution in reading

Spritz engine running at 250 wpm…
…and boosted up to 350 wpm

This technique, and the technology that drives it, amazes me.   By reducing eye movement and increasing efficiency, Spritz boosts reading speed while increasing comprehension.   The following quote (from their official blog) shares some of the tech behind this methodology:

“Traditional reading involves publishing text in lines and moving your eyes sequentially from word to word. For each word, the eye seeks a certain point within the word, which we call the “Optimal Recognition Point” or ORP. After your eyes find the ORP, your brain starts to process the meaning of the word that you’re viewing. With each new word, your eyes move, called a “saccade”, and then your eyes seek out the ORP for that word. Once the ORP is found, processing the word for meaning and context occurs and your eyes move to the next word. When your eyes encounter punctuation within and between sentences, your brain is prompted to assemble all of the words that you have read and processes them into a coherent thought.

When reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next ORP. With Spritz we help you get all that time back.”

via The Science | Spritz.

Collaboration, from a distance

Reading through my feed this AM, I came upon the following article, in particular this quote:

“…social proximity and the relationships with one’s peers are becoming far more important than spatial proximity…”

IMHO, this message can be applied to many other areas in addition to scientific research.   What I found most surprising was the author’s observation that increases in external collaboration took place prior to the advent of online services and the Internet age.

via Science as Team Sport – Collaborating at a distance pays off.

Surviving a Conference Call – via WSJ.com

Personal experience has shown me that videoconferencing is more effective overall than the typical audio call.  How many times do your calls sound like this?

The Dreaded Conference Call

“Videoconferencing can solve some of the problems. The technology is increasingly inexpensive and easy to use, and a growing number of applications, such as Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network, can connect users on a variety of devices, including webcams, laptops, tablets or smartphones, says David Coleman, founder and managing director of Collaborative Strategies Inc., San Mateo, Calif.

The technology can create other challenges, though. Mr. Smith says participants who aren’t tech-savvy often consume valuable meeting time getting used to unfamiliar systems.”

via Surviving a Conference Call – WSJ.com.

Drowning in our inboxes

The average office worker spends 28% of their day dealing with email, and another 33% gathering information and collaborating internally, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.


So, when exactly are we expected to get any “real” work done?  Well, it looks like there may be some relief on the horizon.

Two companies are currently pursuing markedly divergent approaches to the email conundrum, but both share a common vision of a post-email workplace being not too far down the road for an increasingly larger % of the workforce:

  • Slack combines  all of a knowledge worker’s incoming feeds into one unified information “stream” (sound familiar?)
  • Cotap uses a texting-like approach with an app that  promises “real-time, secure, and easy mobile messaging”

via Kill Email, Or Leapfrog It? – ReadWrite.

Bullpens and War Rooms: One size doesn’t fit all

Bullpen / Fishtank / Team Room

Found this quote highlighted on one of my AM newsfeeds, in an article by Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”:

“…It’s very hard to be creative on demand. Most of us need time for reflection, which requires thinking alone, without distractions. It also requires being able to breathe, think and take in the volume of information to deal with solving a problem…”

“…Let’s take a business meeting as an example. A lot can happen in a relatively short amount of time. Many interesting connections can develop. A great deal of information can be exchanged. As a result of so many stimuli, it’s sometimes hard to really focus in on a problem. Focus is particularly important when people are trying to solve an urgent creative problem…”

For me, it’s never easy to explain to my team (much less clients) why I’m not a fan of the “bullpen” approach. Being crammed into a conference room with several colleagues for days (or weeks) at a time is about as pleasant as getting a root canal without novacaine.  I understand that for many of us, the interaction and exchange of ideas without office walls or cubicle partitions is invaluable – but for me, it’s a real challenge to deal with that kind of situation on a regular basis.  It’s almost impossible for me to participate, much less contribute, and all too often my inability to interact is taken by my peers as being aloof, withdrawn, or even antagonistic.

The fact is, I always do better with as much autonomy as possible, and connecting with team members via online collaboration – either in an office behind a closed door, or remotely from my home office.

Has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation?  If so, how did you manage to get through it, and still integrate yourself into your team?  Feel free to comment below and share your experiences.