Starting a new research program from scratch at Rice University's Baker Institute came with many challenges, but unexpected were the difficulty in finding physical space to house my three student researchers. Fortunately students come equipped with laptops these days, so we agreed to skip office space and work wherever wifi went. With one running Linux, another a Mac and the last a Windows die-hard, this soon led to a document nightmare and email overload.
With hectic schedules and my students' propensity to work at times when most other people are asleep, a collaboration suite was in need. Having held the "collaboration guru" portfolio in my job at the U.S. State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, I thought I had a solution in the bag, but was stymied by each new collaborator's computing preferences and the problem of client installations, licensing and all of the other administrative overhead I loath. I returned to my three rules of collaboration: (1) No client installation/browser only; (2) Minimal learning curve and administrative overhead; and (3) Cheap, i.e. no big upfront investments in servers or software.
Open Teams hit the mark on all three, and most impressively, ran reliably during beta. While the students probably got tired of me repeating "Put it in Open Teams!" I now have all of their work for the semester in one location and can bring new team members aboard able to see from day one where things started and access our team's knowledge repository: versioned, time-stamped and attributed.
Chris Bronk, Ph.D.
Fellow, Technology, Society & Public Policy
Baker Institute | Rice University
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Today's post is a testimonial from one of our private beta testers, Dr. Chris Bronk at Rice University, which just goes to show that OpenTeams is a broadly applicable collaboration tool, not just for corporations or Entrepreneurial Organizations: