The one thing to make this year better than the last: Naomi Simson

Creative Business

Insights on business productivity from Naomi Simson, founding director of Australian online tech success story RedBalloon and Redii.

I know that we all start the year wishing that it will be a bit easier than the year before, maybe have a few more wins, and make a bit more money. That we might have won some more customers and grown a bit. As the months pass most of us realise that in fact the year seems tougher than the last. Unfortunately, you are not imagining this. The University of Melbourne Center for Workplace Leadership has given us the data – simply put, the costs of employment in Australia are going up, (people cost more) and productivity (the ability to get things done) is going down!

The more businesses pay for people – does not mean the more you get.

The real trick is how do you create high performing teams; to get the most from people, and so that they too feel a sense of accomplishment and get things done.

The research has identified that low performing teams use email – and ‘linear’, isolated, asynchronous communication. Dr Ric Symes has identified that if teams can move from asynchronous to collaborative tools, there will be an increase in GDP (a nation’s total productivity) of 1%; this is materially significant. Connectivity tools create a better experience for team members too.

It was Lynn Goodyear, the CEO of the Australian Institute of Human Resources, who said that you cannot just give people these tools and expect them to change the way they work. You have to bring people with you on the journey of collaboration, teaching them and guiding them to move away from their old work practices.

When we talk about collaboration we mean seeing, hearing and sharing – it is in real time. It is about providing the tools that allow for the simplest and most efficient outcomes to be produced.

I have employed many and various collaboration tools in my businesses. (Did you know that six out of 10 most downloaded apps are messaging apps). The thing is, for business, most of these freely available messaging and collaboration tools are not secure.

“If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product being sold”. Great quote from blue_beetle Metafilter Forum User.

By 2018, 50% of team coordination will happen via business collaboration tools.

I know, not just from my own experience, that when people are able to be productive and get on with the work of the day – if they go home feeling like a winner (and proud) of what they achieved, then they are far more likely to be ‘engaged’ and love where they work. The simple cost of recruiting and retaining people can be crippling for a small business. So getting this piece right is essential.

With, which is a platform designed to recognize people’s contribution, and celebrate success, we put in a collaboration component. The recognition wall allows people to socialise recognition and to see what others are doing in the business.

The results have been remarkable. When people can see what others are doing and achieving in the workplace, they too want to be a part of the ‘winning’ formula.

Success breeds success.

Collaboration, amplification and transparency are the way to achieve material and significant productivity gains in your business.

Time to turn of the email server (or have structured times around answering them) open up some secure business collaboration tools (making sure that you work with the team on how to use them)… and then this year may well be slightly better than that last.

About the Author

Naomi Simson is the founding director of Australian online tech success story RedBalloon and Redii. She has written more than 1000 blog posts at, is a professional speaker, author of Live What You Love & Ready To Soar, and is one of five “Sharks” on TEN’s business reality show Shark Tank.

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Creative Business

Posted on 03-15-2017

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