The Coffee Who mobile application identifies company employees who are likely to have complementary knowledge and skills but who might not yet know each other. The app helps to bring them together to exchange ideas over coffee.
How can a company encourage internal collaboration by identify staff who don’t work directly with each other, but who might well have complementary ideas and skills that can lead to breakthroughs? Internal social networks, and motivational ‘ideas challenges’, are on the rise at companies these days, but more often the ideal solution would still be to have your people get together ‘for real’, and exchange ideas on a face-to-face basis around the coffee machine. This is the idea behind the Coffee Who concept. This US startup has come up with a mobile app that helps employees at the same company to identify each other and get together for a break of around twenty minutes – on the company’s time of course, which could well provide a useful little mood-booster for the people concerned.
Three steps to…inspiration?
In large companies, where relationships are often mostly based on emails and phone calls, it’s often difficult to actually meet up with colleagues. To remedy this, you can download the Coffee Who application and identify yourself on the platform. The app will then automatically suggest a list of people you might like to meet up with. But this is not about random ‘getting-to-know-you’ sessions; Coffee Who is specifically designed to help companies pair up employees in face-to-face meetings on key themes or issues. The first step is for the employees to agree on a time to meet. Secondly, the meeting takes place on the company premises over a cup of their favourite brew. By encouraging these contacts and making it easy to meet, Coffee Who helps staff build relationships, share their knowledge and so solve work problems more quickly.
Building your professional network over a coffee
The third and final step in the process consists of giving some basic feedback after the meeting, with questions designed to make subsequent meetings even more effective. The idea is that discussing problems face-to-face, by-passing the desk-bound communication channels, may well help people to get to a solution faster. Coffee Who’s ultimate objective is therefore to help companies increase their productivity. This will tend to create a virtuous circle, enabling staff to create relationships and networks with various specialists at the company, who can provide support when needed.