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Collaboration is King | Brainstorming | Wisdom of Crowds

Collaboration Is King

Crystal’s heritage is in facilitating free text interaction during events and enhancing group collaboration. We enable participants to contribute ideas in their own words.

We use audience engagement technology to enable a far greater amount of participation than would otherwise be possible. Much greater participation is possible when supported by Crystal collaboration than if running the same discussion “verbally”.

Transform Events with Collaboration

The bigger the group or more sensitive the issue, the more our collaboration technology can help unlock the potential of the group.

Well thought through collaboration transforms a meeting. I’ve witnessed effective collaboration revolutionise the way government departments consult with their stakeholders on new policy. Collaboration can elevate a slanging match into a productive and genuinely mind-opening exchange.

Collaboration has helped scientists overcome their need to qualify everything and focus on creating new science practice – in hours not months.

And over the years, I’ve been involved helping many senior corporate teams, drowning in detail, to focus, identify, discuss and even resolve the key things they need to fix.

Collaboration Challenge

This approach to group collaboration has never been without its challenges. The main issue is how to quickly analyse and make sense of the huge number of opinions collected.

I’ve experimented with various techniques to improve summarising, including word clouds which pick up on keyword frequency and presents the information visually. This novel approach frequently raises as many questions as it answers. Ask any group, in any sector, for ideas to improve customer service and I can predict the four highest frequency words: customer, customers, focus and service. How does that help inform the direction of the debate?

So the important analysis and summarising is often best done by moderators and facilitators – who scan the screens full of ideas and provide a summary to direct further discussion.

The Wisdom of Interactive Crowds

At the recent LondonLaunch #LiveTECH2014 event I experimented with a new group of analysts: the participants.

Using our latest event app running on our iPad minis, 150 participants were given 60 seconds to input the things they most wanted to see in an event app. The group quickly generated 80 ideas. I then invited them to use our new “like” feature to rate each other’s ideas and three things surprised me:

1. The time a delegate spends liking is not governed by a countdown clock, typical with audience response voting. It is governed by the time it takes for a swell of support to appear around certain ideas. The wisdom of the crowd emerges literally live on screen!

2. Delegates liked ideas from the entire list – those submitted both early and late. I had worried that they wouldn’t have time to properly review the list and would only select winners from the first few ideas on the list.

3. When we displayed the ideas on the main screen – this time sorted by the most liked – the delegates with winning inputs punched their fists in the air. Even though the topic was trivial, their sense of achievement was obvious.

Now the question is how to apply this novel approach to more serious topics.

If you have any suggestions, please get in touch with me by calling +44 20 3176 2000 or by email at View my LiveTECH2014 presentation on Slideshare here. Watch the video highlights on Youtube here.