Dropbox's next stage: a single workspace for content and people

Having conquered file sharing, Dropbox wants to be at the heart of innovation.

Many companies in what was once defined as enterprise file sharing and synchronisation space are now positioning themselves as collaborative environments for companies that want to create slicker content management and ideas-sharing cultures. That's certainly true of the leaders and pioneers, Dropbox and Box and it makes sense at a time when so many organisations desperately need to differentiate, co-create and make use of global value chains to avoid the perils of commoditisation and a race to the bottom on price.

I exchanged messages (appropriately enough) with Geraldine MacCarthy, head of Dropbox Business, EMEA, to discuss what's changing. The following text is a lightly edited record of that exchange.

Dropbox has clearly played a big part in changing the ways that people share and co-create content but what does the company do to help customers go beyond the basics of file synchronisation, versioning and seeing the same documents?

We've had an amazing amount of success over the years building Dropbox, and as recently as June we took the next step in the evolution of the platform with ‘The New Dropbox'. We've recognised that the way people work has changed and we've built a modern workspace that organises your content, connects your tools, and will bring everyone together, wherever you are. Not only can you write, edit and collaborate with colleagues in Dropbox Paper, you can now chat with Slack, video conference with Zoom and manage projects with Atlassian as well as create, access, and share cloud content like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides and Microsoft Office files all without leaving Dropbox.

How do you build a culture of innovation?

It is critical to build an environment that feels safe so employees have the freedom to innovate and take a risk without the fear of failure. For instance, creating a warm and inviting office environment is great to facilitate and foster connections across the workforce. At Dropbox we run ‘hack week' every year, which enables all Dropboxers to put daily work aside and spend time on building a new tool, creating a new initiative or learning a new skill.

We also run ‘lunchbox' once a month, where people from around the office sign up and spend time over lunch with five people they don't know. These types of initiatives encourage connections and openness, which in turn helps build a culture of innovation.

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