We live in a world where we can increasingly tailor our problem-solving capacity to the challenge in hand. When battling a well-defined problem that requires specific expert knowledge or skills, the good old fashioned face-to-face meeting of a small group of similarly skilled people remains the most efficient. However many problems are poorly defined, for instance if only some stakeholder groups’ perspectives were applied when defining what the challenge looks like. So to give yourself the best chance of arriving at a solution, you’re going to need a large, diverse group of problem solvers. Traditionally, this second category of problem was enormously difficult to solve. Assembling 2,000 people in one place is tall order to say the least, not to mention the potentially prohibitive cost of transporting that number of people across the globe. And even if you find a large enough room and the cost doesn’t matter, how would you ensure that all their 2,000 voices were heard? And would they feel comfortable enough to really speak their mind?
Recently there has been a marked trend of established companies which had previously seemed indestructible seem to be on unstable ground or even, shockingly, fail. In this environment, corporations are increasingly facing this second complex type of challenge, requiring the input of multiple stakeholders. Moreover, the stakes are higher and the need to show results rapidly is ever more pressured. The good news that this is now possible in a cost-effective way, drawing on many-to-many communication methods and platforms that we primarily know from outside the workplace.
For best results engage and invest employees
At Hot Spot Movement we have been mulling over the best way to solve global challenges in multinational organisations in the most inclusive and engaging manner possible. Integrating solutions across an entire corporation can seem like moving a mountain, which is discouraging for even the most motivated among us. In addition, it is crucial that insights aren’t lost in the noise of so many people communicating with one another on systems with so many voices all clamoring to be heard. While we do use technology and strategies that are similar to those of social networks, this is not a social network. We wished to create a is process that results in crowd-sourced actionable solutions to complex challenges, with our principal focus being on bringing about solutions.
Accordingly, a few years ago we launched our FoWlab Jam service. The aim of a FoWlab Jam is to help you solve your challenge, allowing you to bring about a company-wide solution. What’s more, it reveals unexpected insights and discovers natural leaders, outside core decision makers, to help you further promote the solution you wish to implement. This is achieved by an online conversation between anything from 500 to thousands of employees, guided by our team of global facilitators. We draw on our globally recognised Future of Work Research Consortium to bring you cutting edge insights that inform the conversation. We ensure that employees know their voice matters and that they are trusted, with individual invitations to the jam frequently coming directly from their CEO. This discussion is collaborative and inclusive, and really invests employees in their future and the big decisions their company is making. The Jam lasts for a finite length of time, usually 72 hours, giving a feeling of urgency and excitement to jammers, and allowing you to reach the actionable solutions rapidly. Once the conversation has finished, our research team puts together all the insights gleaned into a comprehensive report, and deliver these findings to the relevant internal stakeholders at the client company.
How to capitalise on insights
We ran a FoWlab Jam with 1,000 members of PwC’s millennial population to discuss how the consultancy could improve retention of young, new talent. Dennis Finn, vice chairman and global human capital leader at PwC told us that “the post-jam report distilled this vast conversation into four emerging themes, each of which has helped us approach to attracting and retaining world-class talent”. After a jam we ran for Novartis Pharma, Laura McKeaveney, head of global human resources, told us that “it has really shown us a new way to build an inclusive and open community”. We frequently work with clients to tag a Jam onto any employee engagement survey to discuss major issues arising from it and ensuring the employees’ voices are heard and they feel invested in their future at their company.
I believe that the increasingly complex challenges facing today’s businesses are by no means insurmountable. However, with globalisation and the diversification of cultures in any given company, it is vital that problem-solving technology that engages many in conversation with many is used by corporations globally. In this case, the world is very much our oyster.