The word ‘collaborate’ originates from the Latin word collabōrāt, which translates to ‘work together’. A fairly simple and broad concept, the norms of collaboration are ever-evolving and have taken great leaps in the wake of the twenty-first century. As globalization emanates and communication migrates ever more to the web, web collaboration becomes increasingly crucial.
The introduction of basic emailing services in 1980’s changed the landscape of collaboration by bridging the physical gap between people and transforming the norms of communication in the workplace. At the click of a button, information could be shared with colleagues across the world almost instantaneously. This capability effectively shrunk the world and directly catalyzed collaboration on a more international level.
But as communication evolved, the need for real-time solutions became a priority. Thus, consumer-based instant messaging (IM) was born at the beginning of the twentieth century. The IM ushered real-time communication and collaboration in the workplace without physical limits. This tool enabled coworkers to communicate in real-time, increasing collaboration, productivity, and exposure. As the web developed, along with server capabilities, VoIP became an integral part of countless company platforms. The evolution of communication consequently led to video conferencing, file transferring platforms, etc.
When the cellphone and later smartphones came to the scene, they helped to reduce the distance people are from each other, regardless of their physical locations. Today regardless of where you are located at any time, or where your coworkers are located, you are never a few seconds away from them.
These advances in technology and communication have fundamentally changed the way that we work, share and socialize. An immense portion of the global economy today is essentially a ‘collaboration economy’; one in which the main commodity is communicated information and ideas. As the global mobile worker population heads towards 1.3 billion by 2015, the tools with which we collaborate will advance at an incredible pace. In the following posts, we will outline what the growing demand for collaboration means for the tools we use and what needs to change.