Ross Dawson , leading Australia-based futurist, and author of best-seller “Living Networks”, predicts that video conferencing brings more business travel, not less.
Yet even these technologies will not replace face-to-face meetings. This is partly through the extraordinary richness of cues used in human interaction, ranging from facial muscle micro-ripples to pheromone detection. However probably more important is that a video conference is focused on specific agendas and outcomes, and does not allow for the non-purposeful social exchanges that are fundamental to relationship and trust development.
A great case study is web-based collaboration software company 37signals, which has development teams in its head office in Chicago, and in LA, Stockholm, and Romania. While the company lives off its clients’ distributed project work, and its company guideGetting Real says that “Meetings Are Toxic“, the company invests in flying all its staff in to Chicago 3 times a year for face-to-face meetings and relationship building.
The rise of global distributed work will mean that meetings – and the required travel – will be even more important than ever in enabling effective collaboration. Anyone who has used video-conferencing will attest that it is easier to collaborate remotely with people that you have physically spent time with.
~ Ross Dawson (full article by Ross here)
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