Wednesday, 16 January 2013

10 Ways Cloud Storage and Collaboration Can Foster Creativity in Your Business

Guest blog by Nicki Escudero: Social media and content strategist for CX, a Cloud Collaboration company.

One of the biggest components of the business puzzle is motivating your team to keep contributing creative ideas to ensure your model stays innovative and on the cutting-edge of your market. But if your business’ team doesn’t meet together every day, or if your members work in different offices, there are challenges to keeping the creative juices flowing. Thankfully, cloud storage is a great technology that can aid in fostering a creative environment, no matter where your employees are located. Here are 10 ways online storage and collaboration solutions can ensure innovation remains a priority.

1. Discuss ideas in group chat. If your cloud storage suite includes group chat, you’re able to immediately bounce ideas off of co-workers and get feedback right away. Chat allows for an open discussion of company developments, and an open dialogue encourages transparency, which makes employees feel more invested in the company.
2. Discuss documents in real-time. Whenever there’s a document that requires group input, upload it to the cloud, and let the group discussion flow. Some cloud storage solutions enable team members to collaborate on files in real-time so that you can comment on files in real-time with colleagues.
3. Add people who aren’t from your business team to a creative group your whole team has access to. Your employees probably have strong support networks full of creative people who don’t necessarily work for your team. With cloud storage, you can create a public group that includes both your employees and whoever inspires them, so that you can gain inspiration from outside of the office, too.

4. Use drag-and-drop upload to store images of what inspires you to your cloud storage suite. Create a group or folder solely dedicated to whatever images motivate your team, and allow team members to upload whatever is inspiring them these days to the folder. Other team members are able to peruse inspirational content, which may spur their creativity.
5. Store creativity-focused videos to your cloud. Cloud storage gives your small business team a place to upload and stream whatever inspirational videos they want. Here, you can store clips from motivational speakers or ones that are related to whatever project your team is working on.
6. Upload a “creativity” document. Want to get everyone brainstorming quickly? Upload an editable Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation to the cloud, and empower your team to add ideas to it. Seeing other people’s ideas might spark new thoughts from other team members.

7. Real-time notifications let your team stay in the loop on latest developments and stay motivated. With real-time notifications, team members are kept up-to-date on whatever new advances are made on projects, so even if they’re not in the office, they can still add creative input at any time of the day. Using cloud storage means you don’t have to worry about continuously logging in to keep track of member activity – you’ll be automatically notified of changes and comments to save you time.
8. Track what works and what doesn’t. Want to see just how much success your “crazy idea” brought you? Use cloud storage to monitor successes and failures when it comes to campaigns based on ideas disseminated to your team. This way, you’ll get a little guidance before your next brainstorming session.

9. Create a group dedicated just to fun stuff. Your cloud storage account doesn’t just have to be work-related. You could also create a fun group, where employees may share photos, videos and documents that are meaningful to them, but are not necessarily work-related. A group with files dedicated to amusement may provide an additional source of inventiveness within your team.
10. Plan outside-of-the-office outings with your team. Creative minds aren’t just fostered in the office – getting outside is key to sparking new initiatives. Cloud storage helps plan an effective team building experience because you can upload venue ideas and discuss out-of-the-office get-togethers in group chat.

Have other examples of how cloud storage can foster creativity? Leave them in the comments.
Nicki Escudero is the social media and content strategist for CX, which provides cloud storage solutions to businesses and individuals, with a focus on collaboration with features such as groups, chat and social network sharing. To try out CX for Business for free for 30 days, no credit card required, go here.

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