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Collaborative Environments Explained

Choosing technology to improve collaboration in software development

Not all collaboration is the same. If you are ready to turn your business project into a collaboration, there are four “environments” you need to know about.

Collaborative environment may be the new business buzz word, but it’s actually very simple when you put it in plain English – so that’s what we are going to do. There are four key specifics so we’ll run through all four with a quick explanation and the benefits of each.

Finally, we’ll explain how businesses get the most from collaboration by integrating all four environments into your strategy. The end result is a variety of collaborative environments available to everyone – and a fully optimised collaborative strategy. But first, let’s look at the environments you need to know about.

The four collaborative environments

Here are the four environments of a fully optimised collaboration strategy:

  • informal
  • structured
  • formal
  • dispersed


Informal collaboration can be two employees bouncing ideas over a coffee break. But informal collaboration has become so much more, thanks to technology. These days remote staff can work from home more effectively than ever. They can collaborate with colleagues in the office, different branches or even overseas.

The key benefit to informal collaboration is the flexibility it brings to a business. Flexible hours and location mean staff can get things done anytime, anywhere.


Structured collaboration is a more regulated environment for teamwork. The structured environment has specific measures in place to get the most out of group sessions. You’ll find a lot of graphs, charts and other visual data to get the work flowing.

Interactive technology plays a major role in the structured environment. SMART Boards and interactive displays allow multiple users to interact with presentations, create notes and save changes for everyone.


Formal collaboration gives you an environment to make an impact with business meeting and presentations. Formal collaboration uses similar technology to structured environments. However, the formal environment focuses on presenting ideas and explaining concepts for further discussion and collaboration.


Dispersed collaboration connects everyone to the same workflow. Teams around the world can collaborate with conferencing software and interactive tech. A Wi-Fi connection lets devices around the world link up with video or data conferencing to collaborate in real time.

A dispersed environment allows businesses to collaborate with remote workers, overseas investors and worldwide clients from any location.

Collaboration Variety

Each of the four environments come with strengths to suit different types of group work. To get the most from your collaborative strategy, you need to combine of all four environments in your organisation.

This doesn’t mean you have to buy four different systems though. The latest interactive technology caters for all types of collaborative environments. With a combination of interactive tech and collaboration software, you can invest in a single system to get the most from all four environment types.

Which means you can take advantage of the full range of collaboration benefits and get a bigger return on your investment. Not only that, but a more productive and collaborative business for the long-term.

To find out more, call the Smarter Interactive team today on 0118 336 0010 and speak to one of our advisors or use the form below to request a call back.

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