Like many of you, I recently received my COVID shot and I’m excited to see things begin to open up! But before we get too excited, we should reflect on how the way we innovate has changed over the last 12 months.

At the end of 2020, Digital FastForward partnered with Pegasystems on research on how leading companies are using design thinking to reimagine work. Through analysis and interviews of over 40 different companies, we found that the pandemic accelerated the pace of innovation, in some cases forcing companies to squeeze almost a decade of innovation into a single year.
As things start opening up, it’s easy to take your foot off the gas and return to a normal pace. But what if you want to sustain or even accelerate your pace of innovation?

Take Our Future of Work Readiness Assessment

As part of the Designing the Future of Work research, we developed a framework called “The Five C’s of Work Redesign”. Each C represents a different dimension of work redesign that organizations will need to reimagine on to prepare for the future of work. I’m excited to announce the launch of our Future of Work Readiness Assessment. This assessment is designed to help you evaluate your organization’s performance across the Five C’s. Read on to learn more about the 5 C’s before you take the assessment.

  • Eliminate employee and customer communication silos. How well have you transformed your communication throughout the organization? This is especially important in remote or distributed environments. Good communication was what let teams accelerate innovation while they were working remotely during the pandemic. As many companies return to hybrid work, communication will remain essential. How inclusive is your communication? How effectively are you using technology to communicate and collaborate?
  • Boost collaboration through virtual brainstorming. Communication and collaboration both affect how well your team works together. Collaboration can have more to do with whether you’re using tools like Mural or Miro. But more importantly, collaboration hinges on how you use low-touch tools. Tools like Miro are great, but sometimes they get in the way of teams working together and brainstorming effectively. You should still embrace new modes of collaboration. Just make sure you’re empowering your team to collaborate without being hampered by new tech or stuck in silos.
  • Provide context to deepen empathy and speed decisions. With remote work, customer-facing employees can struggle to pull together all the information they need to guide customers to the right solution. Context isn’t just for empowering customer-facing employees, either. It also empowers employees to make better decisions. Teams that brought greater context to customer conversations were able to establish deeper levels of empathy with customers. They were also more likely to resolve issues during the first call.
  • Foster an innovation culture that sparks creativity. How have you invested in building innovation culture during the pandemic? When we say building an innovation culture, we don’t mean you just run the occasional design sprint or brainstorm when you come up against a tough challenge. For true innovation culture, you need to have established a regular rhythm of innovation. How often do you work with your team to drive and support new ideas? If you want to learn how to build a regular innovation rhythm, we talked about that in our last blog post.
  • Prepare your workforce and customers for continuous change. Over the last decade, you’ve heard industry analysts and experts talk about “digital disruption”. COVID-19 put all the theory and research around digital disruption to the test. The pandemic validated the need for companies to prioritize continuous innovation. Continuous innovation has to be baked into the DNA of organizations for them to survive whatever comes next. Is your organization set up to embrace continuous change and disruption?

The world changed a lot over the last 12 months. Now, we need to figure out which changes we want to keep as we move forward. Developing your plan to sustain innovation is critical to locking in the gains you realized during COVID and continuing to accelerate innovation going forward. Our Future of Work Readiness Assessment will help you develop your game plan for driving innovation over the next 12 months.

I’d love to hear how you stacked up against other companies and how they plan to drive post-COVID innovation. Be sure to schedule a complimentary innovation strategy call with me if you want to discuss the results of your assessment.
Happy spring, and best wishes with your plans for the future!