Guest: Marie Barbesol (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: Klaxoon (Twitter)
Show: Let’s Talk

The future of work is remote and ‘hybrid’. However, working from home or remotely has its own challenges; it can lead to burnout and inefficiency. Zoom and many other video conferencing platforms were not designed for becoming a central tool for the global workforce or running businesses.

We need platforms that are designed for this purpose, with efficiency in mind. Launched in 2015, Klaxoon is focused on how to hold efficient meetings. They’ve accumulated years of experience and have created a set of solutions used by millions of people spread over 120 countries and numerous organizations (from Fortune 500 to small businesses). The company is based in France but has teams based in Boston, New York, and all over the United States.

When the company first started, there wasn’t much interest in meeting efficiently. Over the past few years, that’s changed. According to Marie Barbesol, Chief Evangelist at Klaxoon, there are three reasons for that. “First of all, when the pandemic hit, we all had to work remotely. So, this was really the new model of hybrid work. Secondly, we have more and more tools, so it’s much more difficult to handle. It brings a lot of complexity.” Barbesol adds, “Finally, we also have found that all the cycles of decision have become much faster. Before, when we needed to settle a new product, to launch a new operating model you had several months, several years.” Now, with that decision time shortened, meetings must be more efficient.

Since 2018, Klaxoon has witnessed a revolution, which they’ve dubbed the “workshop.” Unlike the standard Zoom meeting, Klaxoon is focused on key moments and the ability to find ideas, make decisions. How this works in production, Barbesol explains, “You have activities where you can work synchronously with your team, which means you need to organize a workshop, you need to have everyone around the table virtually, remotely, or on-site. You have to work altogether. You can do it.”

In a demo, Barbesol demonstrated how easy it is to launch activities within a workshop, and how to run an effective workshop in a limited time. Other demonstrated features included question launching, connecting to a workshop, video conferencing, slide sharing, template libraries, viewing consolidated feedback, brainstorming sessions, and how once a workshop is ended it is then presented as a memo so all participants have the summary. Finally, Barbesol demonstrated how private spaces can be created that enable a team to collaborate.

The summary of the show is written by Jack Wallen

[expander_maker] Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is your host Swapnil Bhartiya, and welcome to another episode for TFiR Let’s talk. And today we have with us, Marie Barbesol, chief evangelist at Klaxoon, Marie, it’s great to have you on the show.

Marie Barbesol: Yeah, I’m very pleased to be with you today.

Swapnil Bhartiya: This is the first time we’re talking, so I would love a bit about the company itself. Tell us what you folks do.

Marie Barbesol: Well, in fact we launched the products and the company in 2015. And in fact, we are really focused, really experts, on how to be able to have efficient meetings. So we have accumulated years of experience, and today our set of solutions is used by millions of people over 120 countries for any kind of organization, from Fortune 500 to small organization. Any kind of jobs are using Klaxoon on a daily basis to be able to be more efficient as a team.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You are based in France, but you also mentioned you kind of serve customers globally. So can you also talk about where the company is based? What plans do you have for future expansion?

Marie Barbesol: Yes, of course. Yes, we are based in France, it’s true, but we are all working on a hybrid model, of course. So we also have three locations in France, but also in the United States. For nearly two years now, we have a small team based remote. So, Boston, New York, all of the United States. And today we have our CEO also, Matthieu Beucher, who is moving with his family to the United States to be able to accelerate because the United States is really important for us. We are thinking that it’s really a new era that is opening for us in the United States. So he’s moving over there to be able to foster the team, and we plan to also hire more than a hundred people for the United States only. And it’s true that we are shifting in fact to new products because… It’s a big day for us today, because we have launched a new product called the workshop platform.

In fact, when we launched Klaxoon in 2015, at that time, people were not very interested in, “I have to be more efficient in my meetings.” It was not a core business subject, it was much more an aside subject. But with March, 2020, we all know the date, when the pandemic hit, in fact, we have seen this topic how to be much more efficient. We’re all working together as a team, becoming a much more central topic. And there are three main reasons for that. First of all, when the pandemic hit, we had all to work remote. So, this was really the new model of a hybrid work model. Secondly, we also went to a much more context of decision much more complicated, because we have more and more tools, so it’s much more difficult to handle. It brings a lot of complexity. We have also things about the data. So now when you have to ground the subject you have to do it several times with several stakeholders, several things, so it’s much more complex.

And finally, we also have found that all the cycles of decision have become much more faster. Before when we needed to settle a new product, to launch a new operating model and so on, you had several months, several years. Today, you only have a week sometimes to make a decision. So, in that context, in fact, we have seen people that had to improvise. They did not have the code to be able to face that three reasons. So, they need to do it in another way. And in fact, we have seen in our platform from March, 2020, it’s 18 months, a real revolution. And this revolution has a name, and it is the workshop. In fact, we have seen 10 times more workshop done since March, 2020, in our platform. It’s more than 10 million workshop. Just imagine. So, that’s why today moving forward and we have launched the workshop platform to able for anyone to do much more efficient workshop no matter where they are.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Can you just quickly define what exactly is the workshop platform? When we look at Zoom, we look at rooms, or you have meet, or you have other platforms as well. So what is it? And how different it’s from other platform. And then we’ll also talk about what led to that growth or a spike in interest in workshop as you gave numbers recently that there are a lot of people using it. So let’s start with some basics.

Marie Barbesol: In fact, regarding the other tools, in fact, we are not dealing only with [inaudible 00:05:18], for instance, we are just on a tool that enables us to see each other across the ocean. You need to get such kind of tool. We are much more focusing on a key moment, which is the workshop. And on the market there is no one else dealing with that kind of subject, is really a new category, because… In fact, when you need to send an email you will have tools for an email. And it’s okay.

When you need to meet people remote, you need to see each other, you need to be able to listen to each other. So you have all the tools like Zoom, for instance, but when you need to be efficient, when working out together, when dealing with object, when you need to find ideas, when you need to make decisions and so on, you have to get a tool like us, the workshop platform, to be sure three things. To be sure you get things done all together, to be sure that you collect feedback, and to be sure that when you’re working all together you are securing the next steps.

Swapnil Bhartiya: As you mentioned, there is an increase in adoption. What are the factors that played a role? What kind of trends you are seeing, because you are trying to look at people or humans. So let’s talk about that if you want to share some insights.

Marie Barbesol: It’s true that when you go hybrid, when you go remote or hybrid, you have to deal with a lot of information. You have to work in a different location environment, but you still have to do your work. So, that’s why, in fact, with the workshop platform in fact you can work in a different at moment. You have activities which you can work synchronously with your team, which mean you need to organize a workshop, you need to have everyone around the table virtually, remotely, or on site. You have to work all together. You can do it. But you ought also something very important, and I think the hybrid work model has really enable this kind of thing to erase is at the asynchronous model, which mean that you can also keep on working with your team without being, at the same time, all together, working on the subject. You know what I mean?

So you can have moments in which you ask a question to your team, they can handle the question maybe after work or when going on the bus, on the subway, for instance. So, there is much more something like you can keep working with your team no matter where you are and to the time when you need to work. So, it’s really enthusiastic because for us it enables… And this is why I was speaking about a new era, because it enables much more to be focused on the deployment of the people, of the human being. For me, for instance, I’m living near the sea, and I have the opportunity to do it, because I can work very easily and very efficiently with my team no matter where I am. So, we think at Klaxoon it’s really a bunch of new opportunities for people.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Let’s just have a look at this platform, because you have been talking about things, and it does look it’s a bit different. So, can you please give us a demo?

Marie Barbesol: Okay. So here you are on the workshop platform. So, I will make you a quick demo. Just everything begins here with a new button, okay? So you want to start a new workshop. You click on you and you can start a workshop, you can launch activities during your workshops, for instance, and you can follow up with your team for the next steps after your workshop. You have two kind of workshop. First of all, which is [inaudible 00:09:14], session, sorry, it’s when you want to be able to synchronize and to align with your team during a set limited time. So you run a participated workshop and in a limited time. So I will show you an example. You have also board. Board is when you want to sing big, is when you want to structure your thoughts to interact as long as you need regarding a subject. So it’s much more the whiteboard. And network, in fact, is when you want to get asynchronous groups and to go from workshop to another workshop to be able to deal with your subjects.

So, if you want, and I will also show you at the end, regarding the follow up, you have several things, two main things. Questions is very interesting. When you need to ask question to your deep, to your team, sorry, to gather opinion or feedback, most of all in a asynchronous mode, between two workshops, for instance. And memo it’s much more when you need, after a workshop, to make the summary, for instance, and you have a lot of memo that’s not read when you send it by emails or when you keep it somewhere on the SharePoint, for instance, and so on. So, with the memo, you are able to be able to get to know your messages to everyone, and to get feedback. So, I will show you, for instance. I have a session here I have done with my team, just to show you an example. So, we are here on a workshop for a launch of a product, okay? So what I can do is I can have my slides just here on my session, but I can also have very simple activities.

So, for instance, here, during the workshop, I can, for instance, launch a question which answers are going to appear in a tech cloud. So, for instance, how were you today? Create, and you can launch it very simply. You see it’s very simple to do. So, for instance, we have done here a workshop with my team. So, we have people that have been connected to the workshop. It’s very simple to connect, because here you just have to scan the QR code or to go onto the address and to enter the code. So it’s very simple to join from any device, smartphone, laptop, what you want. And then you can see that you have a timeline. So you have all the sharing with the people, which mean that we have went to, of course, a video conferencing tool to be able to see each other because we were remote, but it’s very great because we can speak to each other, but we can also send messages.

So, for instance, I have presented, for instance, the slides, but I can also, if I want, share slide within the timeline as I did just right now, which is very great in that also I can ask feedback to my team. So, for instance, I have shown we are wondering which kind of packaging we want to launch. So just after presenting the packaging, I can ask a question very quickly, and in a minute people are answering and I have consolidated feedback, which means we can move forward to a solution. It’s very, very interesting. So I did a vote, for instance. We did also, as you can see, a tech cloud, with all the proposal of the team. What is great it is that I also have statistics about our workshops. It’s going to appear. So I can see how many people have participated. I can see also the average group participation, which was 86%, which mean maybe some people do not have answered some questions, but it’s a high average group participation. It’s really, really great.

And what is really appreciated is that, and I did not do it when we did the meeting, because I wanted to show you, when you end the session close activity and instantly for the participant I have all the presentation as a memo here, which mean all the participant they have the resume, no, they have the summary, sorry, of the meeting just right now. So this was an example I wanted to show you. So it’s really how to align on a subject when you have a limited time with your group, okay? Secondly, I wanted to show you, for instance, a board. So this is an example also from one of our clients. They were working for the first workshop about their HR strategy, so they needed to have a several time of brainstorming session and so on. Part of the team were remote, part of the team were on the room at the office. So what was great is that they have prepared the whole thing, the whole setting, and you see they have instruction.

So here, share ideas around the topic, HR strategy, you have three colors, on green, your objectives, on yellow, what do you think are our strengths? And road blocks in a pink. You have 45 minutes. We are doing three rounds of 15 minutes. It’s really great, because as you can see, and as I had mentioned, anyone can express ideas, and not only people that feel at ease to do it. So you have everything. You can zoom in. You can zoom out. You can, you see, like ideas to be able to see which ideas you want to talk about during the debriefing and much more. You are also able, for instance, to go deeper on an idea. For instance, you have skills, which is for instance one of our strengths. You can put a question on the idea, and you can ask the team “Okay, which one according to you?” You see what I mean? It is why? Because we’re seeing that with Board you structure your thoughts and you are able to switch from ideation to action, which is really, really important.

I wanted to show you another thing. I will go up over there. Last thing I wanted to show you is what we call, in fact, the memo. So, it’s really interesting because when you work with workshops, you have maybe not all the people attending your workshop, so you need to have all the people really aware of what you have done, and you also need to collect feedback. So what is great with the memo is that you can put on a memo contents, pages, pictures, videos, whatever you want, very simply. And you can also have questions of survey to be able to get feedback, and also questions of quiz to be able for the people to be sure that they have understood your messages. So, for instance, I will show you the memo that I’ve sent to my team. So we can go through. It’s very easy. I’ve put a picture, I’ve just written down the message over there.

It was related to the workshop I’ve shown you, so I had just taken a picture and put the picture. And then I ask a question, “Do you have any ideas or comments after this workshop?” That’s why a workshop lasts in the time. It’s not you work at the workshop and it’s over. No, this is really a new way of thinking how we can work altogether. So you can see the results for instance. And then you have also quizzes to be sure they have understood of, in fact, what you have said to them. Here it’s very good, because when you have all the feedback everything is consolidated automatically and you can move forward. So memo is really a good way to be able to be sure that people have seen, because you can, for instance, also see who have seen your memo and who have barely seen, you see, your memo. So it’s very good to be sure that your message is understood.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I also saw something called the studio. What was that?

Marie Barbesol: Yes, of course. I will show you. For instance, I want to set up a new memo. So I click on you memo. I will put, for instance, summary of our interview, for instance. I do it just like that without any mistake. I do create. And then I will go on the workshop’s to do, which is a kind of background where you can, for instance, you will see, you can, of course create a new page. You can put, you see, an image as I show you, I will take that one, for instance, and I can add, “What about the packaging?” For instance. I save and this is my page. So this is where I create the memo, I create the question, and then very easily I launch, and this is okay. You get back the code and you can share the code with whoever you want. It’s really, really easy to use.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You talked about network. So that is more or less inviting more people or having a meeting with others? What role does that play there?

Marie Barbesol: Network. In fact, network, they are private space for a team that want to collaborate. So I will show you one here, networks, on the platform. I will show you for instance the one of our team. So, for instance, here, you have all the people here that are connected to the network. And we can share several kind of activities to be sure that all the people get these activities. So it’s very good, because it’s really fostering asynchronous work because you have all the information just right there. And last but not least, if it’s okay for you, the journal in fact is really where you get inspired, because when you working [inaudible 00:20:41] or remote, you have a lot of information that are running. So, with that journal, it’s very intelligent journal, you can see what has occurred in other workshops, and just to be inspired by ideas within the workshop to be able to find a solution for your own workshops. So it’s really a place where you can be inspired.

I wanted to show you also something very interesting for the people who want to begin with Klaxoon, but do not have idea of what to do. So, we have set up a temporary, a template library, sorry, which are workshop models to be able to begin very quickly. They are inspired by the usage of our community, millions of people, the best usage. And you can see there are a lot for a lot of things. You want to find new ideas. You want to solve a problem. You want to do a strategic analysis and so on. You want maybe much more to get something for giant methods to be able for project management and so on. So you have a lot of templates that are available to be able to begin with Klaxoon very easily.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Initially, you called it a platform, and then you also showed me some templates, so that made me curious, is that all these templates that you are building is Klaxoon building it or you also want to build a ecosystem around Klaxoon where other folks there may be other functionalities that some may want so they may want to have plug in or some other extensions for their… Do you have any [inaudible 00:22:27] plan or that’s already part of the platform?

Marie Barbesol: In fact, the templates are made available by our team, but it’s all inspired by the usages of the clients. But it’s true that we are making them available, but in the coming months we are opening the library to the clients, and to the partners, because we have a lot of partners, to be able for them to share their experience, to share their methods. We have a lot of people sharing how they work with Klaxoon on social networks. If you want to see it you can follow us on LinkedIn, Klaxoon, because there is a… Everyday people are telling us, we can do that, we can do that, we can do that with Klaxoon. So it’s really, really inspiring. First of all, Klaxoon work with a lot of other platform. We are really connected to them.

It’s true that for the moment we are working on the API to be able to have this extension, but for the moment we have for instance interoperability with any kind of video conferencing tool in the markets. Of course, we have our own video conferencing tool, for instance, in bulk. You can also have the video conferencing tool [inaudible 00:23:48] within Board. And we also have interoperability with Jira Atlassian to be able to not to duplicate information, but for teams, for people, because the client is very important, for them to be able to have fluid and very easy collaboration within the teams no matter the tool they’re using.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Marie, thank you so much for taking time out today and talk about the platform, and also how it’s kind of approaching. The world is changing around us. People are working in hybrid models, so how the platform actually designed to be there with them instead of trying to bring to the platform. So thanks for sharing, and also thanks for sharing the demo there. And once again, I would love to have you back on the show. Thank you.

Marie Barbesol: Thank you so much, Swapnil. See you. Bye-bye.


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