Eleven months ago in February 2020 we had our first open public release.
We invited real customers, primarily from Australia to start using our platform. Originally we'd been planning for a small local release with a few users from around the world.
COVID-19 changed many of those expectations though, and brought our mission into even greater import. The ability to co-create outcomes effectively in a digital context was needed even more now that it was before.
I'm not sure what it was that meant we had the fortune to start building VideoFacilitator, and for it to be ready at a time when it felt needed the most.
Maybe God's gentle hand had a part. At least I like to think.
As it turned out our platform ended up with a global user base much earlier than we wanted. With Italy becoming the first western country to be affected by COVID-19, they soon become one of our biggest user bases. Paolo Martinez @ FUTOUR jumped on board as one of early adopter and true believers of our platform. (Paolo recently co-authored a paper on The Future of Facilitation which I invite you to read for insights on what the future might hold)
By the end of year 2020 our global user base had started to rely our our platform. Any outages having a large impact, especially with the investment they had made in preparing to run workshops on our platform.
We decided that it was time to put in place a global setup that would really allow us to help those most in need and give our current customers the reliability they deserve.
We have been very fortunate in Australia to benefit from being so far away from everyone else in the world that the impacts of COVID-19 have been manageable. This is a privilege that many others do not have, and we need to do what we can to help where we can.
To make sure we do that, we have deployed VideoFacilitator with infrastructure for a full globally deployment. We cover 8 regions for stable end users connections, no matter where you reside and we now also have conference management servers in 3 major timezone meaning you no longer need to rely on being close to Australia to get the best performance and be able to quickly and easily connect to your events.
We are ever more committed to changing and enhancing how we co-create, and are looking forward to an exciting 2021.
Recently I was asked about why I started building VideoFacilitator so I wanted to share that story here.
VideoFacilitator was born through a sense of frustration with what the existing tools out there. To be honest I wasn't even going to build it, I wasn't quite sure if it was just me, or if other people felt the same frustration. Through repeated conversations however it seems like many of my peers in the Australian Agile community had the similar experiences and felt it would be valuable to solve this problem of making multiroom video conferences more natural and easier to run
As and Agile Coach in my alternate career, I spend a lot of time facilitating workshops and events and quite often these will include remote facilitation. Because many Australian organisations are promoting healthly work life balance and flexible working arrangements you can almost guarantee no matter when you run a workshop, someone isn't going to be in the office and will need to dial in.
Unfortunately, these types of events often require a significant amount of prep work and if there is anything I hate to do, its to over prepare for a workshop. I much rather the ability to do just enough prep work, and then to be able to adjust the workshop on the fly based on what is actually happening during the event.
To make digital events successful, you'd end up creating a plethora of video conferenece rooms before an event so that you can save all the links, "just in case you needed them".
You would then have to stick them all in a slide deck somewhere, where you would have to force people the deck as a proxy navigation tool, where users could click through to their rooms at the appropriate times.
But what happened if you'd realised you hadn't preped something that you needed? Well it was too late now. There was no possibily of recovery during the event because it was too hard to setup new rooms, send out new links, and adjust the information about what was happening in the room. When you found out you didn't have enough rooms or had forgotten to add something to the deck of links.... well lets just hope that never happened...
The worst was trying to manage time, because it was so hard to keep track of time you'd need to say things like "at 1:15pm eveyrone needs to come back to the main room so we can start the next session". Invariably not everyone would come back and you'd then have the uncomfortable waiting period, holding your breath hoping that eveyrone would come back...
"Had they missed that it was now 1:15pm and that it was time to return?", "Were your instructions clear enough?", "Were they ever coming back?"
Fear and dispare with no possibility of easy recovery... even if it was fleeting, it was always a horrible feeling and experience.
So what are we doing? VideoFacilitator is being built so you won't need to feel this again in the future.
There is still so much more to do, but I really hope you will join us and help us change the world of co-creation!
The future of work is changing and with it how we collaborate. Where once flexible working and distributed teams were a rarity, technology is bridging the communication gap that once existed.
The requirement for a team to be co-located is reducing rapidly, making remote, distributed teams an effective reality. This is opening up opportunities to leverage a more diverse set of people and skills in creating the newer innovative products and services that will change our world.
Video conference and high bandwidth networks have made it possible to work as a team from almost anywhere, but what it hasn’t solved is the ability for a facilitator to lead a remote group of individuals through an experience that helps them create the rapid innovative outcomes that a structured workshop enables.
Our mission at VideoFacilitator is to change the world through co-creation.
By making co-creation from anywhere a reality, we believe we can help the world prepare itself for the 4th industrial revolution by enabling the ability to leverage a more diverse set of insights from people anywhere in the world.
Our deep experience in facilitation and newer ways of working gives us a unique insight into what the future of work may be.
We intend to make that future a reality and hope you’ll join us in shaping the future…