Frequently asked questions

 
 

+ What is Enswarm?

All organisations are plagued with ineffective, biased and often pointless meetings.

Enswarm is a unique online platform that aims to replace 80% of traditional meetings with a results driven visual collaboration tool. Using smart suggestions and AI facilitation, we aim to be the go-to solution for any organisation’s collaboration and aggregation of knowledge capital.

+ Ok, but marketing words aside, what really is it?

In a nutshell, instead of participants having to attend another vague meeting unbriefed and unprepared, you (the meeting organiser) enter the meeting brief into Enswarm’s planning wizard, which to save duplication can then tell you if a similar meeting in your organisation has been ran before... it also suggests the best people to be involved based on their skill set (through AI it knows how qualified they are for the meeting topic by past contributions and can ignore less talented people with big job titles). You can also add attachments and links to the brief so people get the whole context. You then conduct the session in a really cool anonymous, intuitive, live visual tool over a period of time you set (could be hours, could be days) where participants can input all their ideas, questions and comments. The system then collects all of that data, writes up the notes and files it in a meta-connected knowledge base that grows and becomes increasingly valuable over time, and by definition is always up to date. You can easily export the fully-auditable meeting in a PDF and email it to the CEO. You get your time back so you can get on with your real work or clock off early to get some pizza.

+ How can Enswarm help me?

As it is online, asynchronous (as in not bound to a specific time of day) and fully functional on any device (even old ones), you get the freedom to participate in meetings from anywhere, at any time you choose. It’s results driven, so when you really need a decision to be made on a topic, it will push towards that. It automatically handles all the write-ups, so you won't have to spend time going through vague post-it or meeting notes. You won’t have to find a meeting room or have participants congregate in a physical location, or be hindered if Bob is away on holiday.

+ How can it help my organisation?

It will save a HUGE amount of money and time. On average people spend between 35%-60% of their time in meetings. Consider the cost of that for the moment. Enswarm prevents context-switching in your teams; no longer will people have to drop their real work in order to attend yet another pointless meeting. It helps people understand why they want to meet and what they want to get out of a collaboration. It documents everything, so you can finally stop worrying about updating your hugely out-of-date internal knowledge base, and all decisions are fully auditable and exportable, so there will be no more running about to satisfy compliance audits.

+ Why is this quicker than just organising a meeting?

Our benchmark is that it should take no longer than setting up a meeting in MS Outlook. It has the added advantage that you don't need to find a time where everyone is in the office, you don't have to mess around with broken video conferences to include off-site workers, you won't have to find a meeting room, there are no limits on the number of attendees, and the system will help you find the most qualified people to input. Plus it easily allows meeting to have context, descriptions so that everyone involved will know exactly what its about.

+ So it suggests people to add to my meetings?

Correct! The more you interact with the system, the more it learns the areas individuals have talent and passion in. You can invite who you like, but it will help you find hidden knowledge in your organisation rather than just people with big job titles. We are very proud of this functionality, as it starts to break down the trend of big personalities getting heard rather than the quieter ones with hidden talents.

+ What types of meetings/collaboration will this be good for?

Our research and experience with Enswarm v.1 shows that we can effectively replace 80% of the meetings held in the average organisation. We are particularly effective with meetings where you need a decision to be made, meetings where you are brainstorming a new idea or solution to a problem, Scrum/Retro type meetings (we provide templates for those), Status Update meetings and requirement-gathering meetings. If you look at your calendar, you will probably see that most of them fit in to these brackets.

But I like meeting with people; this solution seems a little impersonal, and anyway, it’s quicker just to get people round a table! We don’t want to stop people getting together. In fact we think that more importance should be given to face to face sessions that build community and rapport. It’s the other sessions that demoralise and grind your team down that we want to end. Save those meeting rooms for getting together meaningfully rather than for Bob to freestyle on the white board.

+ What types of company/organisation is this useful for?

Organisations of all types and sizes suffer from the problem of ineffective and expensive meetings. Enswarm is designed to be a go-to tool for any team to improve collaboration wherever people are working together.

+ Ok, that seems rather general. Can you give me some precise examples?

Everyone we talk to come up with another great use case for this platform, but a couple of examples are:

A startup has just gained a new client and is asked to design a product for them. The project leader opens up a session to his team and the external client, for a requirements-gathering meeting. The client team input all of their needs and ideas, along with moodboard images and links to other projects. The creative team can then run another session linked to this to ideate a great solution. The technical team can spin off other sessions generated from parts of the original discussion to work out implementation. Another linked session can be started for regular client review and feedback. During this process you have built an accurate knowledge base about every aspect of the product and client. No more trawling through lists in email chains for to-do items, just type it into Enswarm’s search box and see who asked for what. Cool right!?

A large technical company has many teams and a passion for Agile. The company has a set sprint cycle, so every 2 weeks all meeting rooms are booked out and every table is covered in post-it notes promising to be better next time, and some poor soul has to type it all up into a wiki page/email that eventually gets lost or never read. Sad scrum master stares off into space and thinks about his life choices. Alternatively, each team conducts planning and retrospectives using Enswarm and our Agile meeting templates. Everything is documented, linked to previous sessions and connected to the content produced by other teams so actions and insights can easily be shared. Your scrum master is now happy and your organisation has gained back 2 days per month for more productive work.

An organisation needs to rebrand, the senior teams are lacking in inspiration, and despite many many meetings, have not come up with anything useful. The company decides to start an anonymous brainstorming session on Enswarm to solve the problem. Ideas start pouring out from across the company, and quickly a fantastic idea appears that everyone swarms around. Quickly and efficiently, the new identity of the company has been decided. After reviewing the inputs post Enswarm session, the organiser learns that it wasn’t a head designer or senior manager that came up with the idea, but the junior temp on the front desk. (This is a real example that happened in an organisation using Enswarm v.1). The core of the product helps to uncover hidden talent.

It is an extremely flexible system... I am sure you have just thought of a few more use cases yourself!

+ You mentioned anonymity, where does that come in?

When collaborating in the visual interface, all interactions are anonymous. This is so that only the content submitted is seen rather than the individual behind it. Our huge success with Enswarm v.1 has shown that this helps collaboration to flow and completely removes office bias. The flip side of this is that after the session, the full data on contributions is revealed to the session owner so that quality contributions are credited to the submitter, so recognition can be given where due.

+ Not another online collaboration tool! We already have many and it’s a pain to adopt another!

We understand the feeling, and we thought about that. Importantly, Enswarm has zero learning curve (we are looking at you Atlassian!). Users will be able to intuitively get started with all types of debates, as Enswarm is designed around innate human behaviors in discussion. Enswarm has no setup or prep, you don’t need to add any information to get started, just enter the discussion topic and go. Enswarm is not meant to replace any of your existing tools. They all do what they do very well! (mostly). Enswarm is designed to fill the void that exists between other tools, and facilitate the human aspect of collaboration. Our full suite of integrations will ensure that the data you have in all of you current platforms will be accessible and able to be referenced in your Enswarm discussions.

+ Yeah, but all our stuff is already in Confluence/SharePoint, etc. I can't be bothered to move it over.

You won’t have to! Enswarm has a full set of integrations that will allow you to use the information in your other tools in your collaborations. We won’t do any bulk imports (we don’t want to import old information), nevertheless as you make references to them they will be aggregated into Enswarm’s growing knowledge base. We will connect to all common tools including, Jira, Trello, Google Drive, Slack, Confluence, MS Teams, and even email.

+ What is this visual meeting thing?

Conversation between humans is not linear. It spreads, digresses, and goes “off track”. Current tools are stuck in the paradigm of sending a message and waiting for a reply, like we are pen pals. This is silly. Our visual tool embraces the natural way we communicate by allowing conversations to spread and go off tangent. Enswarm collaboration starts with a central node which is the core topic, perhaps as well as some starter opinions from the meeting organiser. From there everyone will be able to input on the areas they choose to contribute to. As contributions are added, you will be able to view the entire growth of the subject and see heat maps where ideas are getting traction. If the conversation starts going off track on one area, no problem! That area can be broken off into its own swarm for later completion. Remember, the more you use the system, the fuller the knowledge base will be, so feel free to take the collaboration in any direction you feel is needed. Our smart backend system will highlight the points your collective sees as important.

+ But what is wrong with reading comments in order like on Slack or email?

In a limited context they are fine! But for multiple contributors and long debates, it’s a nightmare. We have all had the pain of getting to a long email thread and having to scroll back into a tangled mess to try and work out what is going on, or having to scroll back a mile in a chat window. Our visual system totally eliminates this pain... just zoom out and pan in to the active part of the conversation.

+ What about attachments?

Yes, lots! At every stage of the collaboration, while planning and commenting you will be able to drop in any attachment you like. It is important that people understand context in your discussions. Want to get opinions on designs or mood-board something? No problem. Want to refer to a contract? That works too! And for most common file types containing text we will also parse the content so it will be searchable from within your growing knowledge base. It will also work in the same way with links from the web or from other platforms you use.

+ What do you mean ‘Knowledge base’?

Lots of organisations have a wiki, Confluence or other tool that is supposed to be useful and document what is going on. Except most of the time, they don’t. They quickly become out of date, or become a tangle and take a lot of care and effort to keep relevant. We see this as a duplication of effort and a pain! With Enswarm, as you collaborate, it documents everything. As you use Enswarm more, our smart AI will cluster data together, integrate a discussion’s content in attachments and links and compile a fully searchable knowledge base for your organisation. By its nature it will always be up to date. As you discuss topics again, old information will be updated. No old content will ever be removed (it is important to see where ideas come from) but will be displayed as no longer current. Just imagine how useful this would be for giving new starters context on a project, or with keeping compliance people happy!

+ So it creates the knowledge base automatically?

Correct! No more writing up meeting minutes, or updating articles. We use a really smart system of document clustering, machine learning and semantic analysis to pull it all together. Think of it as a live representation of the actual knowledge of your organisation rather than just what people had the time to write up.

+ Is it secure? You will have a lot of my stuff in there!

We take this subject extremely seriously and are appalled by how lax many companies often are! Our team has a background working in systems that deal with financial transactions and personal data on a large scale, and Enswarm will have the same treatment, using secure industry-standard techniques at all levels. We will also not expect you to take our word for it, as releases of Enswarm will be audited by a third party security tester and the results published on our site.

+ But my company has tight security and won’t use cloud services.

Enswarm will provide a self-hosted version for corporate cloud installation. This will also work with ldap and Okta systems to fit seamlessly with your internal infrastructure.

+ This sounds expensive! We have lots of employees / are a cash strapped startup!

We have a tiered charging model so we will have a solution that fits any organisation. But that misses the point - Enswarm will save you more money than it costs. The cost of badly executed meetings is so expensive that if we prevent even a few meetings then we have achieved our goal of saving you time and money.

+ This all sounds great, but can it work with [insert very specific work flow]

We understand that all organisations work differently, so have kept our platform deliberately flexible, but we won’t have thought of everything, which is why we will keep our road map public and will allow you to add and vote on feature requests.