A New Enswarm
It has been a fantastic year here at Enswarm and we wanted to share a little of the amazing journey we are going through.
From where it all started…
Over the past couple of years we have had great success with Enswarm V.1 and received incredible, humbling support from all the organisations that had been using it (with special thanks to our case studies Mont Blanc. Holy Brook Associates and Yorvik Aviation). But internally at Enswarm, we have been getting ready for the next evolution of our collaboration platform. Over the past year we have grown our team, conducted extensive research, listened to our users and are now ready to announce the next evolution of Enswarm that will be launching in early 2020.
…Since then, we have learned a lot!
That teams communicate organically - In Enswarm V.1 we started by designing around the challenge that when many users collaborate in a single online space, that information can become ‘stodgy’ and inaccessible (the best example is the dreaded, tangled email chain, or the mile long chat thread). We understood that healthy debate can (and should!) be spreading, convoluted and have a very organic shape. Any attempt to squeeze this into an inorganic, linear thread was doomed to failure. Our design team worked on many solutions and discovered that by allowing users to contribute in a visual tree structure, the shape of this inherently encouraged ideas to grow, and allowed teams to investigate side routes to problems in a way that would never have been possible in any other online platform, or in a real life meeting (we have all been in those ‘all day brainstorming sessions‘. Exhausting, right?).
With our new collaboration interface, you can see the conversation grow live in real time (really neat when you have loads of participants!), with heat maps to show areas where ideas are really bubbling and colour accents so you can tell what parts of the conversations are chasing different ideas. We are also allowing users to add attachments, link websites and cloud platforms to each comment so that all the details of a collaboration can be captured. Less of a mind map and more of a community cloud.
On all platforms equally - This is an area we learned a lot from V.1, which was developed with office-based users primarily in mind. If we accept that part of the joy of using Enswarm, rather than being stuck in a physical meeting, is being able to be part of the action wherever you are, then it has to work on ANY device equally (none of this semi-functional mobile app nonsense!). Luckily, the visual and tactile interface of the new Enswarm is perfect for mobile devices as well as for regular computers. In addition, some of our new technical team come from a gaming background, meaning we have deep industry experience that has allowed us to get it working on any device (even the most antiquated Android phones!).
Anonymity, honesty. The death of bias - Another core principle which we bolted down during this time was that the hierarchy, bias and group-think found in organisations was killing true, free and open collaboration. We have removed all of this by making all collaborations fully anonymous. We firmly believe that just because you have a ’Senior’ or ‘Head of’ before your job title, does not mean that you necessarily have the best opinions, or should ever have the power to dominate other people in the discussion. On Enswarm’s platform, there are no names or job titles during a collaboration session; you can only see the anonymised contributions, so they have to stand on their own two feet to gain merit in a discussion!
No App is an Island - We also learned that, as wonderful as a platform is, information needs to flow in and out of it freely. Especially if the platform is generating incredible data and insight as Enswarm does.
With the new version of Enswarm, we will be providing connectors to all of your favourite services… you can mention a Jira ticket, reference a Trello task, send an action to Slack or even forward an email chain to a Swarm. All companies have different workflows, so we will support you, however you work.
We all need a little guidance - We know that not all meetings are the same, so we have developed a really quick way of setting up different types of collaborations in Enswarm (our benchmark was that it had to take no longer then setting up a traditional meeting in Outlook). Need an agile retrospective? No problem. Need to collect details of a new project from a client? We got it covered! Just pick from the different meeting types on the first stage of the planner, and we will guide you through the steps to set it up. The kicker at this stage is that the system will look at the content you are entering and then start smartly filling in the next steps for you. For example; as you enter the title and meeting summary, Enswarm will understand keywords and topics and look for individuals in your organisation who have a proven past record of being productive in these areas. Helping you invite the people who know, rather than just those with big job titles. We like to see this as the ‘hidden talent’ engine.
We hate wasted effort, so as you plan your collaboration, we will let you know if this meeting has already been run before, and then guide you to the results so you can see the outcomes. Think of all that time you will get back!
With great knowledge comes great power - We have all encountered the problem with out-of-date knowledge bases in organisations. No one has the time to update them, and then they get forgotten about. That is until a new person starts and you have the familiar “Yeah, don’t read that page, it has all changed since then“ conversation.
We want this to stop! When you run a collaboration on Enswarm, all of the inputs; comments, attachments, outcomes, actions etc. are persistently stored in the system. Over time this becomes an accurate representation of the collective knowledge of your organisation. With all of the rich metadata around these contributions to the system, you can then search to see all the information on a topic. We cross-reference all of the contributions, allowing you to see the information you need.
The best part: by its very nature it is always up-to-date, as every time a new collaboration is run the data is updated (although you can still see older collaborations; see it as knowledge versioning!)
We can’t wait to tell you more!
This is just a teaser of some of the great functionality that is coming with the new version of Enswarm, launching in early 2020.
Over the next few days we will be taking a deep dive into these functionalities in further blog posts, as well as introducing our new team! Subscribe to our newsletter or social feeds to be notified.