In spite of our best intentions, the prioritisation of innovation and continuous improvement has never found a seat at the executives’ prioritisation table. When Winston Churchill was working to form the United Nations after WWII, he famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” As organisations assess their role in a Post COVID19 world, leveraging the nascent online collaboration phenomenon to deliver participatory innovation will be critical to success.
Organisations choosing to navigate through the uncharted waters of post COVID19 with courage will need to make bold decisions regarding their new normal; Using the crisis to lift engagement, improve alignment and openly collaborate on how best to reinvent what your firm stands for is essential in this new world. This includes asking new questions and challenging assumptions across your entire network
There is so much we simply don’t know, therefore creating future state scenarios of the business is an essential context in which participants (employees) can assess, evaluate and collaborate. We must create a network effect through idea generating participation. Every additional user (employee) in our network of employees will add the value (insight) to others. When a network is present, the value of collaboration increases according to the number of others participating.
Reinventing the future together through a network of idea generation will spark forward-looking action, provide impetus, and serve as a useful focal point for everybody involved in the organisational network. There is also an opportunity to convey hopefulness, through connectedness and possibility.
Some leaders might surmise that now is not the time to be innovating. It is my hypothesis that the need to drive innovation and reassess what were once considered safe assumptions is paramount. Today, employees are collaborating through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Hang-outs. The remote workforce setting is perfect to leverage this conference call collaboration vibe, and extending this new normal into innovation and future planning.
According to James Staten, VP, Forrester Research, “To help protect their employees, most companies are asking them to work from home right now, which might seem like a barrier to collaboration. But the market-leading innovation management platforms make it easy to engage remote workers (all your employees, plus any contractors and third-party partners) in these types of campaigns via websites, mobile apps, and social media. These platforms empower everyone’s engagement beyond just coming up with ideas.”
Most organisations have paved the way for online conferencing, it’s now time to take this unprecedented level of employee participation into the innovation and process improvement space. There’s never been a better time.