Innovation brings about change, and often that change is complex. Here’s a useful diagram that outlines what the key pieces are to success, and what happens when one of those pieces is missing. It’s been a great addition to my tool kit – hope it is to yours.
If you are tapping into a crowd to find answers to a specific problem, i.e., crowdsourcing, here’s five key success factors that you need to be mindful of.
- Focus on a clear outcome – start with the end in mind, know what are you trying to achieve.
- Collaboration as a core competency – you are not looking for loners, but those who can build upon other people’s content to create better.
- Engagement with the enterprise – understand the way the organisation works and build across groups and silos. At the edges of those groups is where you will find the most treasure.
- Transparency in the process – you need to build trust and so be very open about the “rules”. When you introduce secrecy, you introduce conspiracy theories, which breeds distrust.
- Communications are key – If nobody knows what you are doing, they won’t get involved. Plan carefully and across multiple channels. If it is important, I don’t think it is possible to over-communicate. (For more on this, read my blog on “The Kotter Model: 8-step process to ensure successful change”).
Do you like getting unexpected Valentine cards from an unknown admirer? Does it put a spring in your step or does it make you feel like you are being stalked? You start to be suspicious of everybody you know and if someone is friendly to you, instead of being grateful, you begin to suspect them of being your admirer!
When you don’t know who is communicating with you, we are not sure how to react. As humans we want to know we are talking to. That’s why we intuitively dislike “cold calls” because we don’t know who we are speaking to and why they are talking to us.
I work with many organisations who are seeking to improve their worlds through crowdsourcing and collaboration and interaction is a key recipe to success. Sometimes, I am asked if we can make the users anonymous, as they feel that people are more likely to take part. However, in reality, having anonymity may help someone feel safe, but it does not help collaboration.
“Innovate or die.” I have heard this phrase so many times that it no longer has any impact. Yes, I believe it, but I see so many instances when innovation activities are crushed because it is not one of our “current priorities.” The first nail in the coffin…
“If we watch the pennies, then the pounds will take care of themselves.” Another often used phrase. Yes the pounds will take care of themselves, until someone changes the currency. To blindly stick to a determined path without looking at what else is happening maybe heroic, but is unlikely to be successful.
There are many statistics on the level of disengagement in organisations, and it’s low; really low. According to Gallup, 70% of American workers are not engaged. Disengaged staff cost organisations, but also impact in more subtle ways:
“78% of engaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, against 13% of the disengaged.”
“70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same.”
The impact of employee engagement is no longer questioned. Most large corporates run a regular survey to check the engagement temperature of their employees, with the intention of identifying the problems, overcoming them and hoping that the scores improve next time.
How healthy is your organisation going to be this year? Will it be growing or will it struggle to survive? The future is uncertain; that’s good for bookmakers and fortune-tellers, but not good if you are trying to plan for the future.
In my experience, all organisations regularly review their “key numbers”, normally revenue and cost, however, those numbers are in the past, there’s no ability to change what’s happened (legally). What will those numbers be for this month? At best it is intelligent guessing, i.e., forecasting.
Managing your business by your past performance is like driving a car by only looking in the rear-view mirror. You can see what’s happened, but you can only guess what is going to happen, and those guesses are based on what the road looked like previously as you can’t see what’s coming up. The only action left is to hope you guess right and fix the damage when you don’t.
But you can begin to predict the future health of your organisation; there is a way to see into the future. And you already have this capability in your organisation; let me explain…