We live and work in a real-time, always-on environment. The expectation is that we’re constantly monitoring our surroundings, responding to notifications and expressing useful opinions on each and every topic.
This faster-than-fast approach expects us to respond to chat on an unrelated topic, while participating (really?) in meetings. It expects us to brainstorm on demand and exude perfectly worded, creative Post-Its in a 3-minute time slot. It determines agreed and supposedly sensible next steps, on the basis of gut-feeling evaluation and voting. The main thing is that it’s fast!
I spend seven years in a design education learning that there are betters way of working - particularly in the creative sphere, where iterative, mindful consideration is the foundation for quality design and sustainable decision-making.
And I’m not alone in my thinking.
The Basecamp Employee Handbook has this gem : Asynchronously [...] It’s far better for everyone’s concentration and sanity if you collaborate as though most things will get an answer eventually, but not necessarily right this second. Your first choice of action should be to post a message, a todo, or a document about what you need to explain or need to know. Then others can read it on their schedule, when the natural lulls of the day allow it, rather than being interrupted right in their peak flow time. [...] coda proposes the Two-Way Write-Up to create an inclusive environment . Phase #3: Two-Way Writeups [...] they start with a clearly framed or articulated set of ideas. But picking up where one-way writeups fall short, two-way writeups create a structured and interactive conversation. They guide reviewers to give actionable feedback. They create an inclusive environment by enabling anyone to clearly state their sentiment and ask questions that others can upvote. In short, they are more efficient at moving a team toward their goal. Even AJ&Smart, the biggest and probably most successful consultancy around Google’s and Jake Knapp’s Design Sprint methodology, extols the virtues of thinking first, discussing later . Work together, alone [...] That means that even though the group is working on the same challenge in real time, no discussion, idea exchange or collaboration is happening. While this might certainly feel weird the first few times around, this working method allows for even the most introverted group members to present ideas and topics they might usually not get a chance to articulate, as well as for the group to present their real ideas, instead of being influenced by groupthink.
This document is intended as an exploration of asynchronous working in a workshop context, to see if the approaches outlined above can be leveraged, essentially to improve deliverable quality through mindfulness.