In the mind of many people, a Digital Workplace (DWP) is often reduced to an online information repository for known members of teams to collaborate more efficiently or to a top-down communication channel to share internally corporate news.
The Digital Workplace should not be limited to these activities but should be used as your enterprise innovation engine as it reaches every corner of an organization, breaking the business unit silos, and enabling collaboration among people who might not have any reason to interact otherwise.
Knowledge is never fully documented and many gems of information stay “stuck” in the brain of the employees. An internal social media network could unlock that knowledge and bring it at your fingertips. Using this kind of tool a simple question can be submitted and answered by all the company experts linked to that channel. Responses and recommendations can be shared, discussed, enhanced, and turned into ideas with potential far greater than originally thought.
This is a simple first step to transform your internal IT landscape into an innovation hub. Setting up an ideation platform will elevate your company by making innovation a structured process that can be repeated over and over. Still a trend a couple of years ago, ideation systems are now becoming standard for organizations looking at fostering innovation within their walls.
Thanks to these tools, employees from all over the company, from the very top leaders to the bottom of the organizational hierarchy, can collaborate by submitting new ideas in a virtual suggestion box, or by providing inputs and comments to a set of challenges or problems to solve.
The value of an ideation is gained by the heterogeneity of the audience participating to a challenge and the involvement of the people who are dealing with customers or work efficiencies on a regular basis. Having a homogeneous group responsible for innovation within an organization is not always the most efficient way to find solutions. Bringing engineers together to solve a problem will only result in an engineer based solution. However getting input from sales, marketing, production, IT, or finance will allow the organization to leverage experience and knowledge from a wide set of different backgrounds; the best recipe for creativity as ideas are being built on the top of other people’s ideas.
Involving staff interacting with customers or applying strategies and processes defined by the leadership is also a schema offering great potential. The former group receives feedback from the company’s clients; frustration, repeated requests for support on sub-optimal products or services, suggestions for improvements or alternate usage.
Your internal staff can also be described as your internal customers. They can therefore provide as well insights on processes improvements, suggestions for product enhancements, or share new ideas.
Leveraging your Digital Workplace as a source for innovation will probably not result in radical ideas that will revolutionize your industry, but generate continuous improvements – progressive innovation that can offer many benefits: reduced costs, streamlining of processes, better products or services, to name a few.
By making innovation a standard component of your company’s Digital Workplace landscape you will also enjoy other positive side-effects: as your staff submit ideas being implemented, they feel more involved with the organization, they are more dedicated, and they build stronger enterprise wide ties. These will result in greater employee satisfaction and lower turnover.
Make your Digital Workplace go beyond the simple team document repository and turn it into your innovation network that will have tremendous impact on your organization: better products and services, higher staff morale with stronger commitment. Make your Digital Workplace a real collaboration hub.
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