Today I got a suprise response on the Hula Project entry. Jesse Pretorius, a former colleague from South Africa, shared some insights on directions he thinks Collaboration tools need to go. In addition to having the coolest sounding surname, Jesse shows he understands something about what’s wrong with the current collaboration technologies in the market. [Click the link above to see his full comments.] Not having a collaboration system is kind of like not having a car in Los Angeles–impractical. But that doesn’t mean that we should not be looking critically at what systems are available today and pondering ways to fix them.
On a tangentially-related note, one of the features I really like about Evolution is the quick search that is conveniently located right above the message list. It lets you quickly find what you’re looking for without having to open up a new window or hit a key or go up to a menu. It’s just there, letting you quickly find what you’re looking for. [Look for “Subject contains” in this graphic and you’ll see what I’m referring to.]
Such user accomodations are a great help, but perhaps they are exposing that we have a more serious problem on our hands. Certainly by Jesse’s comments, this feature only scratches the surface.
Jesse makes the point that our current set of available collaboration tools actually make the information overload problem worse. What that indicates to me is that technology is doing exactly the opposite of what many feel that it is supposed to do (make our lives easier). Along with some key colleagues of mine, I am hoping that we can start to address the issue that Jesse points out.
P.S. Oh, and previously I mentioned that I’m thinking more and more about social software. if you haven’t checked out del.icio.us yet, you should give it a look. You can share interesting bookmarks with others (mine, still so young, is here), and access your own bookmarks from multiple machines. Firefox has a plugin called foxylicious that shows promise, too.