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Best Way to Maintain the Momentum With Your Collaboration Tool

You had selected the tool, started on the same, invited colleagues, but so despite the initial promising signs the user adoption is dropping and the momentum is missing. So now you are thinking, the tool may not be right. But wait for a moment and look back.

Collaboration is about people sharing information and working together for a common purpose. A new tool is a bringing in new way, in the environment where everyone is using emails, chat tools, phone, face-to-face meeting to discuss, circulate information, collaborate and get things done.

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So, when a new tool comes into play, the best way to go about it to identify the group, team or forum that are irreverent or informal, where people want to get involved and conversation and ideas can flow easily. Conversely those that are formal usually tend to become stale very fast, if the momentum is not there. Ironically, collaboration tools adoption works other way round in enterprise – informal first, formal later.

So, start with a less formal route.

It is a great way to get off the ground, let people self-start, see that it’s not just another scary corporate tool, build confidence, promote and measure engagement –  build the foundation, where by sharing and collaboration -knowledge is build and starts flowing to different teams and groups in your organization, and meaningful work started getting done

Secondly, find a leader and owner of the group. Don’t leave it unattended once you start. The owner should work on ways to best to use the tool for the group purpose. Moreover, the owner can help to bring in the right people, connect conversations, prune groups that aren’t needed any more and help make sure activities and related communications stay on track. And as the engagement increases, owner can decide to divide the group into more specialized groups, increasing the adoption and engagement.

Considering the above, start with small milestone with an informal group and create new ones, as adoption and engagement increases with the tool.

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How to Build Trust Working with Virtual Colleague

Working with people we don’t meet – messes with our human programming. For collaboration to happen, trust is vital. We’re used to building trust with colleagues by seeing them in meetings or chatting to them in the canteen or round the water cooler.

Yet many of our work trends are pulling away from these tradi­tional trust-building situations – people work from home, projects are run online and you may work with people you’ve never met who are in another part of the world.

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It can be hard to develop full trust in collaborators you haven’t met. Trustability is key, rather than capacity to trust. A trust­able person may win over a suspicious one, whereas even a trusting soul may keep a suspect individual at bay.

Trustability emerges from seeing someone as competent, which we can glean from virtual interactions, and also benevolent, putting the best interests of others first – something hard to get a sense of in virtual situations.

Trust matters, as geographically separated teams are more prone to misunderstandings. It’s been seen that conflict can come from behaviour that seems unremarkable when witnessed, but from afar seems puzzling and gets attributed to false motives.

Trust also lets members ask for help when they need it, without worrying about being judged for revealing their vulnerabilities.

Awareness of each other’s team roles and contributions helps to build trust. As well as setting clear goals and expectations. Making sure that individual roles and responsibilities are publicised within the team and everyone is aware of other team member’s weekly activities and availability. Moreover constant feedback and praise for other team member achievements goes a long way to build trust.

To minimize conflict agree on team customs – ground rules for the way in which people will interact. Customs align everyone’s expectations – for example, a maximum response time to emails, agreed technology for sharing and updating files, or guidelines on appropriate language in emails, chat or phone conversation.

Remember, Team spirit and trust won’t materialize overnight, but is created through thousands of everyday interactions.

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Do More and Work Smarter

Just because you clocked 15 hours at your office doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished things in a smart way. If you’re putting in 15 straight hours at your desk, without breaks, how good is your output? How much time are you wasting?

There is a very clear distinction between working hard versus smart working. Few tips that can make all the difference in your work life:

Work Smarter and Be The Hero

Plan and constrain the time on each task at hand

The more you constrain time, the more focused and productive you will get. As old saying goes, work expands to the available time. Less or optimal time you set for jobs – more productive you will become.

Starting making day schedule in your head

Usually we tend to make plans and schedule and then get caught up in things. So better way, it to start making day schedule in your head – and train your mind to remember things in chronological order, with priority and allotted time. Once in head, the body clock will automatically alert you on the next and the next job at hand.

Remember – don’t get overwhelmed by the totality of your to-do list, focus on one task/one step at a time.

Learn to say “no”

Making a lot of time commitments can teach us how to juggle various engagements and manage our time. This can be a great thing but can easily go out of hand. Your job should be to decline opportunities and distraction and focus on the important things that you know you have time for and that you truly care about.

Do less

Do less is another way of saying do the things that really matter. Slow down, notice what needs to be done, and concentrate on those things. Our lives are full of excess. When we can identify that excess and remove it, we become more and more in touch with what is significant and what deserves our time.

Last but most important

Do exercise (or just take 30 min walk), eat healthy and get enough sleep – these boost your energy level, improves blood circulation, and clear your mind – helping you focus and think better.

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Consumer IT Revolution at Workplace

Enterprise IT, including systems for tracking customer orders and managing relationships with suppliers, is witnessing increased competition from tools that traditionally have been developed for the consumer market.

Consumer devices, including tablets and smartphones, as well as collaboration tools, online file editing, communication, have become ubiquitous in the workplace and are used in addition to—and sometimes in lieu of—enterprise IT.

In addition, consumer devices come armed with access to millions of web applications and mobile apps. As app stores add more and more capabilities, iPads, Androids and similar devices evolve into low-cost distribution channels, allowing vendors, big and small, to bypass enterprise IT’s oversight and find ready customers among employees at many companies.

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Affordable to almost any employee, consumer IT tools are too common, too dispersed and too practical to not pose a real threat to enterprise IT.

With concerns about security on the one hand and pressure to keep up with innovations coming from the consumer side on the other, organizations are trying to position themselves between unlimited tolerance of consumer tools breaching the corporate firewall and tight controls that do not offer opportunities for innovation by employees. More and more companies, it appears, are trying to move in the direction of tolerance.

The top 3 reasons been

  1. Neither the millennial generation, nor their parents, will be satisfied if the technology at work is worse than the technology they have at home.
  2. The ease of use inherent in consumer tools and their common availability at home translates directly to the workplace. Because employees see what is possible in the consumer world, they expect the corporate IT department to deliver the same—or more.
  3. Not only does consumer IT provide employees with the ability to be productive outside of working hours, it also allows them to find workarounds that are more pragmatic compared to what enterprise IT has to offer.

The genie is already out of the bottle – Consumer IT will play a growing role at work as the capabilities of consumer devices continue to outpace those provided by enterprise IT. The marriage of consumer devices, app stores, the cloud and a technically proficient workforce signals a tipping point after which consumer IT will fundamentally—and irreversibly—transform enterprise IT.

For executives grappling with this change, the key is to find a path to carefully managed adoption to the ultimate goal: to develop thoughtful, pragmatic strategies regarding consumer IT that will attract the best employees to your workforce and sharpen your company’s competitive edge.

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Tech Gadgets Gift List for Christmas 2013

As Christmas shopping starts, we all make a list and the obvious choices this season are Smartphones, tablets or Smart watches.  .

For Parents

Wireless Smartphone Photo Printer

A printer that connects wirelessly to an iPhone or Android-powered phone and prints vibrant color photographs. Using free app transmits pictures over a home Wi-Fi network to the printer, allowing you to print from anywhere in the home.

Price: $220 @ www.hammacher.com

Trakdot – Luggage Tracker

A small battery-powered tracker that helps you track your luggage when you travel by air using your smart phone. The best way to prevent your language getting lost in transit or picked by any other person at airport.

Price: $59, plus $13 annual fee @ www.trakdot.com

iPad – GameDock

Wish to play game Nintendo style? GameDock lets you do that and throws in the classic console that is sure to remind anyone about early gaming years. It turns your iPhone 4+, iPad 2+, and iPod Touch 4+ into the 2 player, high-def console which we so richly deserve.

Price – $99.00 @ http://iosgamedock.com/

For Kids

Electric Paper Airplanes

Gift your kid the power to make paper airplanes fly. Powerup kit, Takes your paper airplanes to the next level using the Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit, which you can also control by your iPhone!. There is also the option for powered paper boat.

Price: $20 @ http://www.poweruptoys.com

The Sensu Brush and Stylus for Digital Drawing

A great gift for anyone who loves to paint.  Sensu artist brushes are the ultimate tools for digital artists. They deliver an authentic painting experience on your tablet or smartphone. The portable Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus is two very useful tools in one—a brush and a stylus to help you express your creativity digitally, and works with iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nexus, and more.

Price: $40 @ https://www.sensubrush.com/

The Sifteo Cubes

The Sifteo Cubes are a combination of vivid displays, touchscreen capabilities and motions sensors all built into one little unit.  A magical interactive game system built on the timeless play patterns of legos, building blocks, and domino tiles. We will say a must for creative minds.

Price: $130 @ https://www.sifteo.com/cubes

ZBoard

The electric skateboard on lines of segway – you lean forward to move forward and lean forward to slow down, no kick or push required. Coast around town on your skateboard without ruining the soles of your shoes.

Price: $650 @ http://www.zboardshop.com/

For Loved Ones

Fitbit One

Turn fitness into a lifestyle with Fitbit. It tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep quality, helps you learn how to sleep better. Best part, this one clips to your clothes, so is discreet unlike wrist bands devices.

Price: $100 @ http://www.fitbit.com/one

Cinema at Home with Portable Streaming Projector

The 3M™ Streaming Projector Powered by Roku stream and projects movies as big screen – up to 120″, almost anywhere. Plug in your USB or stream directly from Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc on WiFi. Project your favorite shows and movies for a theater-like experience no one will forget. The projector even includes a battery so that you are not restricted by cords.

Price $190 @ http://www.amazon.com

The iFusion – Iphone Docking Smartstation

Ideal for home or small office – a beautiful iPhone docking station, combining the capabilities of many top-selling iPhone accessories in one device. This utilizes built-in Bluetooth technology, a full duplex speaker phone and a patented ergonomic design to deliver superior voice quality.

Cost: $150 @ http://www.thefusionphone.com/

Whistle  - Dog Activity Monitor

The Whistle Activity Monitor is an on-collar device that measures your dog’s activities including walks, play, and rest, giving you a new perspective on day-to-day behavior and long-term health trends. You can even check-in on your Smartphone to see what your dog is up to whilst your at work.

whistle

Price: $100 @ http://www.whistle.com/

Noise Canceling Harman/Kardon Headphones

While Bose’s famed lineof headphones are surely the most popular for those seeking blissful silence, Harman’s version are more flexible, more comfortable, and more stylish. Besides using electronic noise-canceling technology to block out unwanted noise, these sound great as well, and fold up nicely to lay flat.

Price: $299 @ www.amazon.com

Nest Thermostat – For Home

A Thermostat for the Smartphone Generation, The Nest Learning Thermostat learns what temperatures you like, turns itself down when you’re away and can be controlled from anywhere over Wi-Fi.

Price – $249 @ http://nest.com/

Hövding – Airbag for Cyclist

If you have an enthusiastic cyclist in your family, go for a revolutionary bicycle helmet by Hövding, Sweden. Unlike other cycle helmets, Hövding is worn as a collar around your neck. The collar contains an airbag that will inflate and protect the head in the event of an accident.

Price: $540 @ http://www.hovding.com/en/

Happy shopping and have a great year a head

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Take Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy and Data

As we are getting more and more dependent on internet for any information, news, social connection, it also becomes imperative that we take steps to prevent our online privacy, avoid been tracked for every move and every website we visit, and prevent our data and information to be exposed and stolen.

Protect online privacy

There are simple steps everyone should take to keep sensitive communications safe, starting with using complex passwords, which aren’t kept on your computer.

Below are few more steps you can take every day to improve the probability of being safe online.

First, password protect all your devices

Choosing not to password protect your devices is equivalent of leaving your home or car unlocked. If you’re lucky, nothing will happen, else your content and profile is at risk, especially if you misplace or your phone is stolen!!

Sign out of your accounts when you’re finished, don’t just close the browser or browser tab

Not only will this slightly reduce the amount of tracking of you as you surf the Web, this prevents someone who later sits down at your computer from loading one of these up and getting snoopy. If you’re using someone else’s or a public computer, this is especially important. Yes, people actually forget to do this, with terrible outcomes.

Clear your browser history and cookies on a regular basis, better set automatic clear on browser closure

When’s the last time you did that? If you just shrugged, consider changing your browser settings so that this is automatically cleared every session. Go to the “privacy” setting in your Browser’s “Options.” Tell it to “never remember your history.” This will reduce the amount you’re tracked online. Consider a browser add-on like Ghostery to further reduce tracking of your online behavior.

Do not use the same password among all websites you join

Make sure that the password you use for encrypted or secure sites are different from less secure sites you visit. Have 3 or 4 sets of password from complex to simple. Use the most complex for your credit cards or bank accounts, next level for your email and other accounts, next for social network and the fourth for all other things. Make this rule, easy to remember and easy to implement. Do not mix and do the reverse.

Don’t hand out your email, phone number, or zip code

When you buy things, go to restaurants, fill in feedback forms, or when someone in uniform at store asks, many times you hand over these digits. Stores and other places, often use this info to help profile you and your purchase to sell more. If you don’t want people tracking your behavior simply say no and don’t feel bad about it.

Set bios password or encrypt hard drive of your machine

Put an extra layer of password protection on your machine. Have a BIOS password that is required before machine boots or wakes from hibernate. This will simply prevent force entry by any third person, inside your machine, if you misplace it.

Other level of protection is encrypting your hard drive, meaning someone else has to have your password (or encryption key) in order to see the content on your hard drive. You can use “Bitlocker” for PC and “FileVault” for Mac.

Use an IP Masker, If you want to hide your footprints

To hide your online footprint, you can download Tor or use an easy browser-based option like HideMyAss.com. This will mask your actual IP address, i.e. location of browsing.

Work with two different web browsers

Establish two browsers working practice. One browser to access all application that requires login ID like emails, productivity tools, file storage, credit card, bank account etc and second browser for all your web browsing and web search activities.

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This in combination by IP Masker and browser extension like Ghostery can be really effective in keeping your web activities private and not linked to your identity or profile.

The idea of complete privacy is a foregone conclusion in the world of Google and NSA, but we can do few things to keep our self safe and private on the social connected web.

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