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Modern Collaboration in Theory - and in Practise

We live in the 21st century. Terms like email, Skype, co-working, cloud computing etc. are very common in the digital times we live in. „Modern working“ is the name of the game and „modern collaboration“ is becoming a business standard as globalization is rising – that’s at least what I thought.

I’m a graphic designer working for different clients in different businesses from different countries. The majority of my clients is located in Germany (I am in Innsbruck, close to the German border). However, I also worked for companies from other European countries, from Asia, Australia or North America so far – they all were happy with working with me. This is possible because I always make sure that the communication works smoothly and I’m also available at times that suit my clients.

You always hear that companies want to work with people that are flexible and open for modern communication – well, that’s the theory. Everybody wants to be hip and modern, which is good for the image, right?

Well, the practise often looks a bit different, what I found out in a few talks with potential clients that are only 150 km away from my office. And I also encountered that phenomenon at the Tiroler Exporttag (Tyrolean Export Day) in summer 2015.

In talks with Austrian business delegates that are responsible for different countries, I heard that it’s necessary to have an office in the country you intend to export to. Even – you won’t believe it – in the service industries like graphic design! I talked with business delegates responsible for the USA, the UAE and Singapore for instance. Everywhere I went, I heard the same story.

Incredible. I was really surprised. Graphic design, service industries – in theory, I could even work on the moon and the end result for the client would not be any different. Of course given that the communication works perfectly.

Does „modern collaboration“ really exist only in theory? Are examples in real life exceptions? I can hardly believe it, but it seems to be true.

Of course it’s good to discuss certain things in person, no doubt about that. But it’s sad to see that obviously so many businesses block themselves from benefiting from working with professionals from outside that bring whole new perspectives into the company. I’m not only talking about graphic design here, but about the whole spectrum of service industries out there. When thinking of „modern collaborations“, it looks like many businesses don’t practise what they preach. Maybe some managers are simply too narrow-minded or conservative, I don’t know. But you would expect a bit more open-mindedness in the 21st century, don’t you think?

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