See Like An Inboxer

Let’s face it, rabbits cannot produce rabbits as fast as business has produced communication routes.  Of course, that’s not extravagance. The rapid proliferation of communication channels and differing types of channels is driven by necessity: single communication strategies can’t keep up with the meteoric rise and rapid pace of information. We Slack for immediacy, tweet for swift participation, text for brevity, chat for expediency, and email for rolling verification, substantiation, and confirmation. 

Each communication innovation is a viable solution to an efficiency/effectiveness problem that has, in turn, magnified the problem: with so much information flying through so many channels, coming from so many different directions, at so many variable speeds, it’s nearly impossible to discern what is relevant and what is not. 

Urgency often obscures relevance.  Since we long ago married efficiency with pace, addressing communication efficiency has become an exercise processing-more-information-faster. Thus, the need for more dynamic communication channels, isolated for data safety. To date, our solutions to the information-pace problem have served to increase the number and volume of information channels. 

Innovation rarely comes from the obvious answer. It does, however, often come from the ordinary observation. 

We are in a constant state of information triage but need to jump channel to channel, location to location, to sort the priorities. In every channel, the incoming wave never stops, yet, it’s a given that we must take our eyes from this channel to sort that channel so are flying blind no matter what we do or how fast we do it. Relevance routinely passes by unnoticed. We chase. 

The solutions lie not in the obvious problem of pace. They’re found in the ordinary need for clear sight. Seeing across the full spectrum of moving information. 

When I joined Factor10x to help develop KnowNow, I was the proud owner of two email accounts. One personal account and a shared account for art/business communication. In truth, I’d worked hard to simplify, eliminate, and otherwise contain my communications, a strategy that’s have been antiquated for years. 

Now, I monitor 6 email accounts, Teams communications, and enough Slack channels to keep me distracted into the next decade. It’s worth noting that I am a member of a small team in a tiny company. 

It’s also worth noting that I monitor my channels and handle the flow with ease, precisely because I can see across all my channels in one place. Skip calls this capability “Inboxer mode.” It’s one of the design principles of KnowNow: safely seeing across information channels. I start my day as I always have, triaging my multiple communication channels. But, my multiple sources effectively function as a single channel – if I want them to. Relevance is easy to spot. 

Skip will tell you that the Inboxer is a working style, a term he coined while studying patterns of information flow in the contemporary working world.  I’ve come to understand Inboxer as a superpower or sixth sense. When I am “in” Inboxer mode, I see across silos. I jump macro to micro and back again. I often feel as if my information is chasing me instead of the other way around. 

In KnowNow I have an integrated inbox. I have the ability to act in the channel that the messages come from. I can see everything in one place, yet the individual channels remain secure. I have an overview. I can refine to minute detail. I can see and link across my networks. 

Innovation born of ordinary observation. The raging river of information remains unchanged but, instead of trying to stay afloat in the torrent, instead of flying blind, I can rise above the flood. I can see. 

As Director of Professional Services, David Robinson creates solutions at KnowNow and Factor10x.

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