Business messaging tools and practices that help workers organize their thoughts can play a major role in supporting continued innovation in companies of all sizes, according to a recent study on messaging practices by Pitney Bowes.

The study, titled Messaging for Innovation: Building the Innovation Infrastructure Through Messaging Practices, is based on four years of data compiled by Pitney Bowes. According to the study, workers primarily employ messaging practices to effectively use digital and paper-based communications tools to manage workflow and thinking.

Meredith Fischer, co-author of the study and vice-president at Pitney Bowes, says there has been in the past a tremendous amount of frustration about the pace at which these types of tools were landing on the desktop.

“What users told us was this is really getting out of hand,” Fischer says.

International Data Corp. (IDC) collaborative computing research analyst Robert Mahowald says companies that employ collaborative tools do so because they have decided the tools contribute to their return on investment in productivity.

“They really only provide 20 per cent of the total solution toward effective collaboration,” Mahowald says. “You’re going to be relying on phone calls, face-to-face meetings, which of course include things like facial and body language expressions that you don’t get from software-based tools.”

Mahowald says there is still a lot of value in sending a message the old-fashioned way, via paper. “It forces you to commit to paper and words — you review [thoughts] before you hit the ‘Send’ button,” Mahowald says. “Talking with somebody is still the gold standard with collaboration.”

The Pitney Bowes study reveals the most productive workers let collaborative tools organize their work or enhance their thinking. Among the best practices identified by the study are: self messaging; previewing potential scenarios; breaking projects into small, manageable tasks using “knowledge indexing”; eliminating reminders of stress; relying on co-workers; and using active filtering or screening.

Of these, Fischer says the most important are self messaging, previewing and knowledge indexing.

“Instead of trying to think about ‘How am I going to remember this tomorrow?’ you just pick up the cell phone, call your voice-mail system at work and leave yourself a message,” she notes. “That is absolutely key to reducing the stress you feel.”

To prepare for a meeting, Fischer suggests thinking through a day before the list of events that will take place. “Go through the bits and pieces: who is attending, were all my materials assembled? In doing so, I plan exit strategies or coping strategies in case.”

Fischer says knowledge indexing is putting together the required materials before or while working on any given project. “Top performers succeed by not thinking of everything at once. Instead they use tools and people to segment, prioritize and schedule thinking as well as tasks, actively forgetting about the next project phase until it becomes an A-level priority.”

Fischer says if someone can’t use collaborative tools efficiently to communicate with others, he or she will be less successful than peers who can.

Business messaging tools and practices that help workers organize their thoughts can play a major role in supporting continued innovation in companies of all sizes, according to a recent study on messaging practices by Pitney Bowes.

The study, titled Messaging for Innovation: Building the Innovation Infrastructure Through Messaging Practices, is based on four years of data compiled by Pitney Bowes. According to the study, workers primarily employ messaging practices to effectively use digital and paper-based communications tools to manage workflow and thinking.

Meredith Fischer, co-author of the study and vice-president at Pitney Bowes, says there has been in the past a tremendous amount of frustration about the pace at which these types of tools were landing on the desktop.

“What users told us was this is really getting out of hand,” Fischer says.

International Data Corp. (IDC) collaborative computing research analyst Robert Mahowald says companies that employ collaborative tools do so because they have decided the tools contribute to their return on investment in productivity.

“They really only provide 20 per cent of the total solution toward effective collaboration,” Mahowald says. “You’re going to be relying on phone calls, face-to-face meetings, which of course include things like facial and body language expressions that you don’t get from software-based tools.”

Mahowald says there is still a lot of value in sending a message the old-fashioned way, via paper. “It forces you to commit to paper and words — you review [thoughts] before you hit the ‘Send’ button,” Mahowald says. “Talking with somebody is still the gold standard with collaboration.”

The Pitney Bowes study reveals the most productive workers let collaborative tools organize their work or enhance their thinking. Among the best practices identified by the study are: self messaging; previewing potential scenarios; breaking projects into small, manageable tasks using “knowledge indexing”; eliminating reminders of stress; relying on co-workers; and using active filtering or screening.

Of these, Fischer says the most important are self messaging, previewing and knowledge indexing.

“Instead of trying to think about ‘How am I going to remember this tomorrow?’ you just pick up the cell phone, call your voice-mail system at work and leave yourself a message,” she notes. “That is absolutely key to reducing the stress you feel.”

To prepare for a meeting, Fischer suggests thinking through a day before the list of events that will take place. “Go through the bits and pieces: who is attending, were all my materials assembled? In doing so, I plan exit strategies or coping strategies in case.”

Fischer says knowledge indexing is putting together the required materials before or while working on any given project. “Top performers succeed by not thinking of everything at once. Instead they use tools and people to segment, prioritize and schedule thinking as well as tasks, actively forgetting about the next project phase until it becomes an A-level priority.”

Fischer says if someone can’t use collaborative tools efficiently to communicate with others, he or she will be less successful than peers who can.



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