Change is accelerating. Tap this hidden resource to keep up


Is the pace of change accelerating to a point that your company can’t match? Surely, it seems like every aspect of life at home and at work is constantly being reinvented, revised, updated and improved. Just to maintain the status quo, you need to stay attuned to shifting customer demands, explore and adopt emerging technologies and respond to moves from your competitors. To thrive, you have to get ahead of the curve. But is that even possible? Yes. And there’s actually a way to create multiple wins from one.

Employees are an excellent and frequently underutilized source of innovation and knowing how to harness their interests and energy can help companies develop a proactive perspective on change. Embracing those employees who are interested in change and technology, and adopting them as beta customers, are great ways of accelerating innovation in an organization.

For example, in a large company no one might be given a smartwatch to use as a company tool, and yet you can be sure that when Apple’s watch debuted, hundreds of thousands of employees arrived the next day at work equipped with the new device.

Some innovations have the potential to deliver more business value than others, so it’s important to have measures in place to validate ideas, develop a high-level business case and prioritize the ideas according to the value or differentiation they can offer. For example, with the right app, smartwatches might serve as ID badges for employees, a potential added convenience for users and a cost savings for the company.

Your employees can help create a list of ideas for embracing technology in new ways that benefit your business. But, even applying a high threshold for ideas will result in a list of projects that exceeds the time and budget a company can invest. So how can a company move more projects forward with limited resources? HR can play a role here by including employee involvement in the portfolio of internal development opportunities that can be measured and rewarded. To embrace the enthusiasm for change, IT should start with these simple steps:

  • Provide mechanisms for communicating the IT roadmap and strategy, and provide an easy method to capture input and feedback.
  • Collaborate with key partners to share and refine the roadmap, and allow employees to provide feedback to partners.
  • Establish a community of interest for helping IT review and prioritize ideas. Communicate the results openly. Use this group to define scope and success — and ensure that success is measurable.
  • Introduce an early adopter group across all domains of the organization that will work with, help evaluate and measure success. This group can also help accelerate the introduction of new technology precisely because they understand its value and application in that part of the business. They also help improve the adoption rate because they are close to new users and understand their needs best.
  • Introduce annual awards for the most impactful change (the idea, the testers, the implementation).

And then there’s the bonus “win.” Making employees central to innovation is a great way to attract and retain a talented, high-performing workforce. When you keep in touch with employees’ needs, goals and experiences, they’ll feel listened to and appreciated. And you’ll have a powerful resource at your disposal to match change step for step.

Marc WilkinsonMarc Wilkinson was DXC Technology’s chief technology officer for Workplace & Mobility. He left DXC in October 2019.

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