We’ve come a long way since the days when mad scientists sequestered themselves in tiny laboratories, surrounded by stacks of scribbled notes, agonizing over some new industrial innovation — wrought on by the dream of one day becoming the first mad scientist to arrive at just one original idea.
Remember those days? Sure you do!
Though surely there’s still a go-it-alone innovator or two making breakthroughs in science and technology somewhere in the world, today, the majority of us work in tandem — with colleagues, customers and partners, often located halfway around the world — to come up with the best and brightest solutions to our problems, business or otherwise.
And we welcome this new collaborative process, armed with modern research suggesting that just about any problem is most efficiently solved through an open, free-flowing exchange of ideas.
For global enterprise on the cutting edge of collaboration technologies, maximizing user-driven innovation has meant breaking free of anchored, stand-alone work places to adopt dynamic, virtual collaborative spaces. So why shouldn’t the tools we use follow the same path?
New Tools for New Times
As it’s grown and matured during the last several years, Google Docs has offered me an increasingly dynamic platform to share ideas with colleagues. My professional bias aside, I truly believe the web app is one of the most revolutionary forms of communication to hit mainstream business since the post-it note (circa 1980, for the curious).
For those unfamiliar with Google Docs, it’s an online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor with a feature set that closely mimics that of comparable desktop solutions. The Web app allows teams to create, store and share documents and collections instantly — and securely — and work, simultaneously, in a single document in often creepily-real time.
You can create new docs from scratch or upload existing files, running the gamut of popular formats, to edit from within the Google Docs application. There’s no software to download, and all your work is stored securely on Google’s massive server farms in who-knows-where, and accessible any time, from just about any device. (Like!)
No joke, time and time again, Google Docs has proven to be the most efficient way to manage content for the awesome team of geeks I work with here in Cloud Sherpas’ Atlanta office.
By streamlining the document creation process on the Web, there’s no waiting on the latest version of a scope doc or customer request from another team member; no rifling through email or shared drives to find the draft I need; no annoying uploading, downloading or checking in and out, or merging or tracking changes. It’s just there — all the time, when and wherever you need it.
Docs just makes so much sense to me now, little else does when it comes to alternative project management solutions.
If you haven’t tried it before, give Docs a chance. It’s an often-bizarre, often-enlightening exercise in team collaboration that’s also — final shameless product plug of the post — incredibly easy to get started with.
Got questions about Google Docs? Submit them in the Comments below, and let’s have a conversation!