Increasingly, large organisations are implementing design thinking and design skills to find solutions for complex problems. Middle and senior management are trained to acquire the skills to ‘think’ like a designer. Ideally, this combined with a culture that is playful, investigative, open and collaborative.
Because of the sheer size of large organisations, there is a huge creative potential. It is always possible to find people with creative capabilities and a designer mindset. People that have ideas and innovative solutions that can be very beneficial for the organisation. The trick is to reach them.
Connecting all employees in new ways improves the liquidity of knowledge; the speed in which ideas can travel. Sourcing the innovative potential in organisations requires facilitating radical and open collaboration on a huge scale.
Social collaboration technology harbours a huge potential to achieve this. These are platforms that form new and exciting ways to connect people worldwide. Think of tooling such as Yammer, Teams, Slack and Workplace. They make it possible to connect thousands of eyes, ears and brains.
However, connecting people is not enough, and it’s certainly not a goal in itself. True creative idea development requires people to feel comfortable to share thoughts and ideas, especially if they are unfinished. Due to internal politics and the focus on individual KPI’s, open-ended and creative processes often become closed, with outcomes that are predetermined and therefore not very innovative.
Having a lot of ideas is also not enough. It is one thing to generate ideas, but it is another to validate them. It is important to select which ones are worthwhile to move forward with. People should feel heard and acknowledged for sharing their ideas. And they should have the opportunity to follow them up and see what sometimes even the smallest idea can grow into.
What is required of an organisation to create a culture in which people feel comfortable to share and develop ideas? A big part of this answer lies in creating a horizontal organisation where asking questions is stimulated, where showing your vulnerabilities is okay and failing is seen as a way to grow. Also, the quality of the questions asked can often be greatly improved.
How does your company stimulate knowledge sharing between employees?