“Businesses are starting to realise that in order to protect the value they produce, their sights need to be set on the future and, more specifically, the future of work.”
For a number of businesses working in the digital industry today, there is an urge to innovate (or “disrupt”) and develop new ways of tackling both existing and emerging challenges. It has even reached the point where new companies are now jumping in to offer ‘digital innovation’ services, with one example being Makeable, a company based out of New York that is “built on collaboration”.
The reasons for change can often vary from finding new ways to generate revenue, contend with growing competition, navigate the forever changing waters of the internet and other technologies, and exploring a new strategic direction or market. What is often left on the peripherals of these more lucrative pursuits is behavioural change and the need to ensure the organisation (and its people) are equipped to maintain effective ways of working and communicating.
This is having an impact on our work more and more.
Businesses are starting to realise that in order to protect the value they produce, their sights need to be set on the future and, more specifically, the future of work.
With circumstances such as remote working, flexitime schemes, and global teams becoming more common, it’s imperative that businesses, regardless of their ‘maturity’ in work practices, have a firm foundation for effective communication, leadership and value creation.
The implications of a changing work environment are breaking down traditional structures such as meetings, sales pipelines, and general business improvement practices. The dynamics of a business are changing more now than ever and collaboration is one tool that should not be overlooked.
Our Past, Our Struggles
At Uprise, collaboration was an idea thrown indiscriminately around the room without a real grasp of how it would manifest within our organisation, let alone contribute real value where it was needed.
The default solution would typically have been some form of technology or tool, however, we knew that to effect real behavioural change across the business we’d have to go beyond technology. It was obvious that this was not going to be an overnight solution, nor a simple procedure whereby everything would fall into place and we’d all begin living and breathing collaboration on a daily basis.
It would need to be designed.
Leading up to this transformation, the internal dialogue was centred around questions of how we “break down the silos”, be more “human”, and improve overall communication, both internally and externally to our organisation. There was an obvious sentiment amongst the team that we knew what we were looking for in an outcome but typical barriers to change such as time, resources, and old work habits had to be overcome.
Additionally, there was a lack of leadership or accountability toward the initiative. By simply realising that nothing would change without leadership and accountability on the team is half the solution; it is as much a leadership problem as it is a communication problem.
Stepping into the Future
The reality was that Uprise would have to change in order for collaboration to materialise within the business.
Out of the haze of the 2015/16 Christmas vacation, the organisation began a focused effort on developing and refining the business strategy. Thus, bringing with it the soil for a collaborative framework to grow and take shape.
We quickly realised that collaboration would become integral to the future of the business and help to facilitate effective idea generation across our areas of expertise. Not only would it enhance our work and the value we delivered to clients, but additionally establish a sense of purpose in each phase of a project and ensure that anyone could pick up and run with the information available at any stage in the process.
If we wanted to truly effect change for our clients then we first had to believe in our practice and feel energised by it each time we stepped into a meeting or kicked off a new project.
With this in mind, we set out on a journey over the best part of 2016 to establish collaborative practices and embed them in evolving business processes across sales and delivery. We identified three key areas where collaboration would have the biggest impact: client discovery (from first contact to an all-in workshop), project kickoff, and ongoing strategic reviews (internal planning and client workshops).
The process became a journey of building a machine that cares about its people in a way that would foster knowledge sharing and instil a confidence in everyone to speak up and feel invested in key phases of a project’s lifecycle.
Through and through, we would be learning how to enhance the quality of our work by integrating it with the very fabric of our culture – the output would come to truly represent who we are as a business and a network of specialists.
Looking forward, we know that the true value of collaboration at Uprise will come to reveal itself more and more as we grow and scale the business. By undergoing this behavioural change now, we save on costs incurred from broken communication down the track, have a clear view of what value looks like and how it’s manifested in our work practices, and most importantly, we feel confident that our clients and our people see the meaning in what we do and why we do it.
Catch Part 2 to read about our journey of ‘making’ collaboration, from prototyping to iteration, and where we’re headed as we continue to embed collaboration at Uprise. (coming soon)
Monday, 24 April 2017