As a global design consultancy, we're driven to maintain a global presence and strong international connections. So, when an Asian manufacturer came to us with an opportunity to partner on a project, we took it in full swing. Collaborating across continents can be seen as a challenge on its own, especially when you add the Covid-19 pandemic to the mix. However, with our robust pre-existing ability to work remotely, it was a challenge we were excited to face.
Collaboration is key when it comes to unlocking new technology or business. But a common work location shouldn't, nor is it a prerequisite for a project to be successful. There seems to be this assumption that physical collaboration plays a large role in success for innovative digital products or services to succeed.
While remote working may appear to be a challenge, it can improve communication and help eliminate unnecessary discussions. Blind spots can also be avoided by bridging intercultural gaps across departments and borders.
The traditional approach to kicking off a project begins with workshops and briefings, usually face-to-face. However, with the pandemic hitting hard, we were all forced to operate remotely from day one. Through extensive research into our client's product field, followed by an intensive prototyping process, we were able to redefine our collaboration process to match the value of face-to-face meetings and deliver some amazing results.
So how did we succeed?
Reflecting on the project, the key to success was strong mutual respect and clear roles within the teams. Language and cultural barriers were overcome by selecting the appropriate team members who could bridge knowledge and interpersonal gaps. Having powerful technology on hand to facilitate remote research, workshops, and prototyping, helped us create a great team culture that fostered success, drove efficiency, and afforded us a bit of fun.