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While visual collaboration and ideation are often used interchangeably, they are, in fact, two different -- albeit often overlapping -- concepts. Simply put, visual collaboration is the use of technology to enable remote teams to work together in real time. Ideation, on the other hand, is a process that companies and teams use to generate and develop new ideas.
The confusion lies in the fact that similar technologies and products, such as video conferencing, virtual whiteboards and file sharing systems, are often used for both purposes. Visual collaboration's function is essential to any kind of hybrid work. In today's hybrid workforce, the concept has become the way the world operates. Regardless of what we are doing and what today's goals may be, we will use visual collaboration tools to virtually meet and work with remote colleagues in real time. Ideation, however, is just one of the possible tasks we will perform while visually collaborating.
Visual collaboration is a much broader term than ideation. Though ideation tools could be used in a traditional office scenario with no remote participants, they reflect the reality of today's hybrid world. These tools support remote team members, which makes them, by default, visual collaboration tools.
The importance -- and market interest -- in both concepts is significant. The reliance on visual collaboration to be more productive has advanced in many industries, and the better visual collaboration features are, the more effective the outcome. Ideation comes into play when organizations grow stagnant as workers get into the rut of their daily tasks -- not only encouraging teams to generate new ideas, but also creating a process that organizes, prioritizes and implements them. Successful ideation can make the difference between growth and death in today's market.
When planning out technology for your teams, do not dismiss these terms as marketing buzzwords. Visual collaboration and ideation tools are indeed real and serve a real purpose. Understanding the roles of these technologies and choosing the right ones to support your teams can make a massive difference in productivity, output and worker satisfaction.