Let us start by asking you one quick question: What is your single most important go-to source of information at work. If you answer its your email inbox, then what we're going to say now would make perfect sense to you.
For a lot of us who spend a lot of our time communicating with our colleagues at work, email goes way beyond being just a communication tool. With multi-GigaByte inboxes that we are used to now, our email inboxes are probably the richest sources of information at our disposal, containing information that is inherently very contextual because it was sent to us by someone who thought it makes sense to us. If you are using an email service with very high quality search like Gmail, searching your inbox almost becomes second nature. Along with the power to organize your conversations offered by labels, your email inbox transforms itself into a potent tool that stores stuff that is of immense value to you, and also makes finding useful stuff very easy.
Here, we call for a little exercise of your imagination for a moment. For a minute, imagine how it would be if you could search every inbox in your organization, just like you search yours. If you could write in a bunch of keywords, hit enter, and you could have results from the email inboxes of anyone in your company.
Powerful? You bet! You could instantly find:
Answer to a question you have which was answered by someone in your company an year back
A document you need from a colleague's inbox
Know if someone else has handled a client query similar to what you have to answer now
Quickly find who in your company interacted in the past with client, a vendor or a service provider
The list could go on really. Thats what is the power of the "Collective Inbox" as a searchable, browsable repository of information which is really like an organizational memory for a company. Now if only we could figure out a way to share only the right stuff with the right people, we could all work so much better.
What do you think?
(This post also outlines the core idea behind our product, GrexIt.)
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About the author:
Niraj is the Founder of Hiver. Hiver turns Gmail into a powerful collaboration tool by letting you share your Gmail labels. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar.
Niraj can be reached on Twitter at nirajr.