Writer: Leena Huotari, Customer Relationship Director
#collaboration #collaborativedesign #digitaltools #organizationalculture
Digitalization and digital tools are still one of the hottest topics, which keep getting brought up inside organizations as well as in research. Their effect on organizational culture or their requirements of organizational culture are widely debated.
One manifestation of digitalization are digital tools, which allow collaborative development of organization’s staff, networks and clients. When I discuss this with people in different companies, many of them say that they have all sorts of digital tools in their toolbox. “If I introduce even one more digital tool, people will freak out!” They say that during the digitalization hype companies collected digital tools with no actual digital strategy or capabilities to utilize those tools. If you are not aware of how digital tool could be properly utilized, you can’t find the best tool for the need you have. This causes tool-orientation and frustration and instead of co-creation it creates co-destruction. Sometimes you even end up using one tool for everything.
So, how do you know what uses different tools have? In one of the events I participated in this spring several speakers noted that continuous testing is needed. What fits our neighbors may not be suitable for us. It’s a good idea to experiment with a small team and find matching tools for different purposes. It is also easy to give up those tools that are not best suited for the purpose. Moreover, it is very important to measure the benefits of tools: How do they influence our customer and employee experience? Can things be developed and put into practice faster than before? Do they bring efficiency and productivity?
There also a question of what kind of digital tools are suitable for different purposes? Below is a simplified view of the suitability of different types of tools.
Many organizations have access to a project management tool. Project management tools are the best, when there are tasks given by the management or one needs to solve a problem with a specific goal in mind. Project management tools work great for allocating people and their work efforts and managing the entire puzzle that is task management. Management gets information about how the project progresses compared to the plan and information about the outputs.
Collaboration tools (e.g. Trello, Slack) are great for creating and exchanging ideas together, building and categorizing things, and sharing information. They are usually quick-to-use for co-operation between people or groups. However they do not provide management with follow-up information about the progress of things or change.
Tools for management are typically tools used to support benchmarking or strategic consulting from different sources. Often, however, there is no information about what changes in operating practices have led to the results seen in the indicators.
The difficulty factor usually increases when you try to build a successful business activity or culture that generates success. All employees need to start thinking more broadly. They need to experiment and do things that tangibly improve their activity, create new ways of working, and nurture the new culture. For this purpose, we have built NOOA change management cloud service, which has also won the International Quality Innovation Award in 2017 for its uniqueness.
The key benefit of NOOA in impletinging a strategy or a change is that employees learn to take responsibility for development and think about how they can support a colleague to catch up with change. If the person is not involved extensively, a great deal of expertise and experience will be missed and the reforms will not translate to everyday work. With NOOA management and supervisors are able to strengthen their responsibility with timely feedback and rewards to their employees. NOOA provides information about the progress of change and development of culture, which gives the supervisors concrete tools for leading change. Once the strategy has been made to be more understandable and divided into shorter steps, everyone can easily focus on their own activities, find new ways of experimenting and see progress.
The end result is not just a change in the matter at hand. It will result in a new way of thinking and acting: continuous development instead of individual changes. Changing culture is both a change in thinking and in attitudes and activities.