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What would work be like if our colleagues just knew what we were working on? I expect peers would be better able to coordinate and managers could more easily allocate human and other resources. DoubleDutch HYVE takes us one step closer to automatically letting colleagues know what we’re doing, for whom, and where. The HYVE tap, not type, approach creates a “kind of FitBit for work,” as described by CEO and co-founder Lawrence Coburn.
From the DoubleDutch :
Leveraging the disruptive, geosocial capabilities of the smartphone, we hacked together a mobile productivity app that allowed our team to “check-in” to work objects such as customers, projects, and products with a tap of the phone. The result? Radical transparency from the CEO to the intern, eye-opening productivity analytics, and a dramatic fall in the use of company email….
- Develop communication and collaboration tools to match our work
- Develop holistic performance measures
- Retool management for an open world
- Create a democracy of transparent information
DoubleDutch built on entrepreneur Jyri Engestrom‘s observation that it’s a fallacy “to think that social networks are just made up of people. They’re not; social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object.” In this case the shared objects are things like projects, customers and places. By letting people know what you are working on and tapping through the project, customer and place objects, you create a signal that can stand on its own, or be taken in context with broader analytics. Coburn noted that you can roll the data up to team and company views — but that it also works as a personal check. He says, “I want to know where I’m spending my time. Gives me a heads up if I’m spending too much time [on the wrong projects.]”
The behavioral change of checking-in regarding tasks is made easier by the commonality of the behavior in personal social media. That said, it’s still a task added to the day’s work. Coburn says HYVE works to motivate the effort through gamification and the ability to “compete in a gentle way.”
In the middle of my interview with Lawrence, I received a call from my colleague, Al. He and I were collaborating on a teaching engagement that afternoon, but given how I feel about email, I hadn’t done an email “check-in” just to tell him I was ready to go. However, Al is conscientious and so was checking-in with me. I could see the value of HYVE as Al’s number flashed on my phone. With a HYVE mentality I would have checked-in from home, announcing my review of the class slide deck before getting on my call with Lawrence. Al would have seen that check-in and known I hadn’t forgotten our engagement. Instead, he called, I texted during the call, I later listened to his voice mail, and then called him back as I hadn’t gotten a reply to the text. All extra work that a simple “tapping, not typing” check-in could have avoided.
Certainly the technology alone wouldn’t have reduced our extra effort, but if we apply the check-in gesture to work the way some people check-in at bars, all that workflow knowledge would already be in the stream. I don’t doubt that in great implementations, where human, technical, and organizational practices are adjusted with the addition of HYVE, that email is reduced by over 30% as it was in DoubleDutch’s internal test.