Difficult times force us to make decisions that we otherwise might not have, and while it is undoubtedly true that the drastic consequences of COVID-19 are forcing everyone across the globe to take stock of what it means to go about their day-to-day, the growing sense of community and support reminds us that there are always new and different ways in which we can continue to innovate and grow together.
At Bad Dinosaur, we are fortunate that every day we work with progressive small and medium-sized enterprises whose ideas and projects invigorate and challenge us to stay on the cutting-edge. Considering this, we thought it might be worthwhile sharing some of the ways we are continuing to work efficiently from home while building team morale, as well as highlighting some of the technology others are using, including technology we have developed, that could prove useful to other businesses and individuals both now and for the future.
Easy to use tools for improving efficiency
Businesses who thrive on the collaborative process will be finding this period of isolation especially difficult, but there are plenty of platforms, applications, and tech solutions that can help overcome distance and keep effective communication between team members and with clients. Currently, we at Bad Dinosaur have been using a mix of existing technology and our own platforms to help ensure that ongoing operations run smoothly.
Remote conferencing applications like Zoom (similar apps include Webex and ClickMeeting) provide an easy to use and free service for video conferences and chatting, allowing for one-on-one or full team meetings from various remote locations, scheduled conferences with clients, and quick problem-solving conversations with fellow team-members. One major advantage we have found in using Zoom is that it has helped to keep our office comradery, as we continue to hold daily morning stand-ups and have now initiated a virtual check-out where all team members can casually chat and “leave the office” together at the end of the day.
Keeping morale high is of course an essential part of any business, especially those that thrive on the exchange of ideas like we do. Working remotely can be a barrier to collaboration, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the most effective tools for collaboration at Bad Dinosaur has been Microsoft’s OneNote, a digital notebook that allows us to screen share with clients who can then easily follow project notes and sketches. Apps like Whiteboard (similar apps include LiveBoard and ZiteBoard) are also extremely helpful, as they fully digitize the traditional whiteboarding experience, allowing you and colleagues to communally brainstorm, save ideas, and trace your thoughts over a timeline—a tech solution that is equally helpful in-office.
Similarly, for anyone working in development, Microsoft’s Visual Studio not only provides an efficient platform to code on, but it is also cloud-connected and allows seamless and real-time collaboration through Live Share, which gives users the ability to co-edit, co-debug, communicate through voice and text chat and more.
Finally, we have also been using our Portal, which we built in-house to integrate various platforms and keep consistency in the way our team engages with projects. We realised a while back we were juggling a number of different pieces of software, none of which were tailored to our business. We wanted new functionality to streamline our work processes and so built Portal. It has a range of features; allowing us and our clients to track their projects from one place. We’ve gained new insights into customer and staff behaviour which has evolved our thinking and have found this imperative during this time to keep business running as usual.
Start future-proofing today
One of the fortunate aspects of working with enterprises that are consistently pushing the boundaries of traditional forms of business is that it keeps us on our toes—ready to find long term solutions not just for today’s problems, but those we might encounter down the line. And in recent days it has been fascinating to see how certain projects we have worked on can provide solutions to today’s unforeseeable circumstances.
Acorn Wellbeing is a perfect example of how thinking innovatively can begin solving issues before they even exist. Acorn is a health-tech platform that Bad Dinosaur designed alongside co-founder Mark Hedley, which allows patients and pharmacists to streamline the filling of prescriptions while also improving communication between the two. This not only means that traditional brick and mortar pharmacies continue to play an essential role in the healthcare process, but it also reduces the need for pharmacy visits. The tool may have been designed to provide better and easier care for patients under normal circumstances, but it seems to have taken an even more relevant turn in recent weeks.
Similarly, Stamp Free is an application that looks to revolutionise the postal industry by allowing users to directly measure and weigh envelopes and packages without ever leaving their home—especially helpful when you are under government orders not to. The specific disruptive solution that allow for this super-efficient process can’t yet be shared until it has been adapted by mail services, but it is safe to say that both now and in the future it will be more than helpful to avoid queues, the unnecessary purchase of stamp-books, and those often out-of-order self-service machines.
Tech solutions, however, are not all about reducing interaction, they are also about increasing outreach and problem-solving for real-world events. Here, in Scotland, we have seen just how quickly tech can resolve seemingly insurmountable problems, as DIGIT, the largest independent business technology community in the country has been using tech solutions to transition their major conferences into virtual summits. We have also seen this transition from FutureX, looking to hold their Impact Summit online, and Yena, who are now holding virtual meetups. Platforms such as VFairs, Teeoh, and Remo all provide virtual and environmentally friendly alternatives to large-scale events.
So, while you may be at home working and considering the best ways to keep your business functioning as usual over this strenuous period, perhaps it is time to take stock of the different opportunities for innovation and streamlining those that exist within your business and industry. Some of the solutions you are using and considering today, could be the brink of a change that revolutionises your business for tomorrow. After all, it may be cliché but it is also true that when we are forced to think outside the box we often come up with our greatest ideas.
If you are interested in hearing more about what we are doing, or have an idea that would support your business drop us a message and get in touch.