I’m excited to share with you 3 tools that I love. Keep in mind that technology should be used and implemented when appropriate and with knowledge of their cultural counterparts. So, without further ado, here they are:

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1) Loomio

What it does: Asynchronous decision making

How I use it: in a distributed team, we need to be able to make proposals, get input, and move on them more often than we get together for meetings.  We use Loomio to get a temperature check, a quick read on the mood of the group, and we can tell whether to more forward, refine the proposal, or call a meeting about it.

Upsides:

  • Developed by an awesome group of people who needed the tool, Enspiral
  • Open-source and community driven
  • Donation-based

Downsides:

  • Haven’t found any yet!

slack2) Slack

What it does: Threaded conversations within a group of people

How I use it: rather unsuccessfully as of yet.  I’m excited to try it out because it feels like it has the potential to move some lengthy conversations that are currently stuck in emails to a different space.  I’m hopeful that it could reduce some time stuck in my inbox and make a more digestible way to interact with these conversations.  There’s a phone-based app, too, but I have yet to use it.

Upsides:

  • Basic, free version
  • Moves conversations out of email inbox (less email!)

Downsides:

  • It’s another website to check frequently

kumu

3) Kumu

What it does: Collaboratively edited, online network maps

How I use it: I’m still learning.  One of the downsides of Kumu currently is that it takes a while (for even someone like me who has experience with tech and network analysis) to learn to the level of being useful.  I’ve made a few maps to play with it, but I still feel like I have to learn a bunch more to make really useful maps that could engage a broader group of people.  However, this is a HUGE step forward that moves network maps out from a static and very expert driven realm.  Previously, you’d have to use specialized software to make a map, export it to something like a pdf or ppt and then present it.  This feels much more alive, much more real.

Upsides:

  • Basic, free version
  • Their cute manifesto!
  • Moving toward a more alive representation of networks

Downsides:

  • Have to pay for privacy
  • Serious learning curve

 

So, what technology are you excited about lately?  Have you used any of these 3…and what do you think?

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