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It’s here. We know it’s here because it feels like every living member of sports journalism has arrived in San Jose this week preparing to watch and report on the greatest US sporting event there is – the Super Bowl. I’m a big football fan by way of my father, who instructed me at an early age to watch each play and remember that it’s ok to play basketball instead (I was skinny as a kid with very little in the way of a football physique).

 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the nuances of the game. Each play is diagrammed specifically to beat the other team’s defense, which in turn has studied the offensive playbook looking for an advantage. While rough, it’s a beautiful game - one that reminds us how important collaboration is to success.

 

The teams prepare all week. The coaches study film and then share their findings with the assistant coaches, and then the players. They draw up plays, practice and the communicate ways to anticipate how defenses could react. Then, on Sunday, after all the preparation, the defense throws a wrinkle at you -- a weak-side blitz you weren’t expecting.  Through the chaos, the head coach is on his headset squawking  to the offensive coordinator for extra protection.  The offensive coordinator, either on the sidelines a few yards down, or up in the press box high above the field, will then relay instructions to the quarterback who is looking at instant photos of the play (while likely also icing his entire body) that just took place during the conversation. 

 

Outside of the injuries, sounds a lot like what we do, doesn’t it? If you’re building a marketing plan, you take many steps in building that material. You review the priorities for the coming year, scribble notes down on paper that will eventually become a PowerPoint slide deck.  You then get your specialists – read: assistant coaches – to review the plan and add their input. All of this comes before the big day when you present to your manager. However, your manager throws you a wrinkle and suggests something completely different.  It’s time to “huddle up” and re-work the play, or plan.

 

Collaboration – no matter in what form – is absolutely imperative to successful business. However as we approach Sunday evening, I did wonder – which environment is better – the huddle or the huddle room? Here’s where I stand:

 

Environments:

  • Huddle – Midfield where the quarterback is barking instructions, but only 50% of the offensive line can hear the play
  • Huddle room: Quiet, intimate setting where you can turn on NoiseBlock and everyone knows the game plan
  • Advantage: Huddle room. And while there aren’t any 4th downs to worry about, you might have to make a last minute decision

 

Structure:

  • Huddle: You’re in a circle with the quarterback at the center
  • Huddle Room: You’re in a circle with a RealPresence Centro at the center
  • Advantage: Push – I think we can all agree gathering in the round is a great way to collaborate!

 

Content Sharing:

  • Huddle: Quarterback has a VERY SMALL play sheet on his wrist which even he can’t read without bifocals
  • Huddle room: Plug in your laptop and share with people in your huddle, and the huddle in another location
  • Advantage: Huddle room – it takes less than 3 seconds to share content. And you can illustrate and annotate easily

 

Timing:

  • Huddle: Play clock gives each team 25 seconds
  • Huddle Room: Sit back, relax and collaborate for as long as you need to
  • Advantage: Huddle room – trust me, when you’re on a tight deadline, it can get hectic and messy

 

Technology:

  • Huddle:  Quarterback has a static message from the head coach through his helmet
  • Huddle Room: Clear HD quality audio, video and content sharing
  • Advantage: ….do I have to explain?

super-bowl-huddle-social-card-1025x512.jpg

 

So there you have it.  The huddle room is the clear-cut winner. And so is your work environment. The beauty of huddle spaces is that they are anywhere.  You can put a Polycom RealPresence Trio, RealPresence Debut or even a RealPresence Centro anywhere and turn any environment into a collaboration war room.

 

This Sunday evening, I, like everyone else, will be in front of the TV, chomping on nachos and watching the Broncos and Panthers. Who do you like in the big game and how could our solutions improve collaboration for each team?

 

Additional resources:

  • Follow the conversation on Twitter: #huddleroom
  • Visit the Huddle page on our website: ly/1nH6N1r
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