Guest Post: Using Co-Creation to Accelerate Digital Transformation

  • July 19, 2017
  • Derek
  • 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: At Driven 2017 Derek Miers of MWD advisors will be hosting a co-creation workshop. There is still a little time left to register!
The following blog was written by Derek describing the workshop.

The Problem

The C Suite have mandated the development of a new response to the challenges of digital disruption in the marketplace. Nobody wants to get “Uberized.” So there’s now a new “digital transformation” agenda—and you know that you need to make things happen, but how?

Reality is that when it comes to digital transformation, technology can do just about anything you can imagine. The central challenges revolve around people and change:

  • How to do you engage your colleagues to think differently?
  • How can you break the bonds of the past?
  • How do you build the appetite for change among the key stakeholders?
  • How do you overcome the constraints of existing internal silos?
  • How can you re-orient the existing structure so that you can scale your operations?
  • How can we charter a set of company-dependent, yet discrete, change projects?

In the end, people tend to resist change that’s imposed on them. On the other hand, if people have a hand in framing the questions and exploring the options, then it’s no longer somebody else’s answer to a challenge they never fully understood.

The key point here is that, taking the time to involve and engage people to shape the change enables the organization to really accelerate and scale transformational change initiatives. What appears to be the “slow road” is actually the “short cut” to sustaining change and building an innovation culture.

About The Workshop Format

This workshop format involves challenging multiple teams at once to develop a rich and vibrant vision of their future—using co-creation. Rather than imposing change (and meeting the inevitable resistance), this method engages individuals into the transformation initiative, helping to drive it forward.

The underlying transformation framework helps people innovate more easily—rethinking value delivery outside-in—before connecting to the operational delivery components to build scalable service/product propositions. The workshop framework itself is highly adaptable, allowing you to fit it into many different change initiatives. Designing this sort of workshop involves incorporating different engagement tools—persona design, customer journey mapping, service blueprinting, and many others—enabling you to tweak the approach to get the results your organization needs.

Case Study – How The ‘Tell-Sell’ Approach To Change Just Doesn’t Work.

We’ve used this example as it talks to overcoming change resistance internally and building commitment. We could equally have chosen an externally focused scenario.
The CIO of a major brand—let’s call him Tony—wanted his business architects to adopt a standardized method within the organization. Tony’s problem was that, with a federated organizational structure, he had little direct power over the resources that currently performed the work across the enterprise. They all reported to different business units, each with their own parochial agendas.

In planning the workshop, I asked Tony, “Exactly what change in behavior are you expecting by standing at the front of the room and telling them what to think?” Good point he responded. We already had a clear idea of what good looked like, but persuading 50 people to standardize their working practices was only going happen if they co-created those working practices.

Tony got a much better result—a richer and more compelling set of methods—when he engaged the collective knowledge and expertise of the crowd. He found that:

Value co-creation occurs when you engage employees into re-thinking how they address their customers’ needs. These customers might be internal or external. When they’re internal customers, it’s the operating model that the teams are working on. When they’re external, it’s the business model. Either way, it’s when you bring your people together as teams to design that experience that breakthroughs happen.

Quasi-competitive teams that share artifacts at regular intervals created rapid evolution. When the teams worked through an outline structure—one that forced them to rethink the relationship outside-in—a much richer picture emerged. They stole each other’s ideas and incorporated them into their reworked service propositions.

The teams defined a set of services and products. By working outside-in—starting with the persona and “job-to-be-done” before thinking about the customer’s journey and then their ideal experience—teams focused on developing service definitions that aligned/configured their internal capabilities, and the processes needed to deliver that value.

If you engage your staff to design their future, it’s theirs. As teams engaged—both internal and external resources were involved—they built on the ideas of those who have gone before. Along the way, as teams operationalized the core services, processes and working practices evolved as wrinkles were identified and worked out.

The teams designed the core of the new target operating model, and the change program needed to get there. They identified where those capabilities required additional work, and how to make them more robust. They realized that they should not lock down the design of “to-be” processes until they had developed a compelling target vision.

The key difference was that the participants became the champions of the new ways of working. The real benefit was that the groups themselves collectively created the new working practices. They tested out their new concepts. They captured feedback from their customers and colleagues, embellishing the service propositions as needed—often incorporating unexpected elements into the new approach, making it more compelling and powerful.

In the end, the entire group had reinvented how they delivered value to the organization. They had created a library of services, complete with embedded and reusable components. For example, the Value Innovation Service, the Technology Advisory Service, and the Ideas Incubator Service all leveraged both the Impact Assessment and the Roadmap Development Services. Moreover, they had industrialized a set of techniques—using themselves as guinea pigs—that they would later go on to use in support of broader organizational transformation initiatives.

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