Are you ready for another webinar? No, I thought not! Right now, many of us are drowning in webinars. But there’s only a certain amount that anyone can learn from the passive experience attending a webinar – so how about a different approach?
One where you can interact and contribute, add your own experience, and collaborate with people with diverse perspectives. Maybe it’s time to roll up your sleeves and joining a co-creation session instead?
Ah hah, I hear you say. That’s all very well in a cool physical workspace Jo, but we’re all still stuck in home offices!
Well, that’s a challenge we started tackling earlier this year – and in April, we ran our first fully virtual co-creation session. We’re using immersive 3D technology that recreates the special atmosphere of a Fujitsu co-creation workshop.
Of course, it is not exactly the same as physical working, but in a short space of time it feels like you are in the room together, and in my eyes, it sure beats the 2D webinar experience.
When it comes to data-driven transformation, it’s the variety of voices and different perspectives from across business areas that help customers not just to understand, but to embrace that approach and start developing practical ways of putting it into practice. And that’s what our co-creation sessions are all about.
Over the past three years, we have developed and refined what we call HXD – Human-Centric Experience Design. I’ve regularly been delighted to hear our customers enthuse about how HXD has helped cut through bureaucracy, ensuring that entire teams – drawn from different stakeholder groups – end up leaving a workshop not only aligned but downright enthusiastic and ready to put a single, shared vision into practice.
Bringing people and ideas together to a consensus is only possible because we’re using the HXD methodology to dismantle the barriers – helping people step away from the role they think they must play in any design process and at the same time, opening powerful opportunities for more informed debates, based on genuine insights.
The real power of data is when it is placed in the hands of decision-makers
For many of our customers and colleagues, the Fujitsu data-driven transformation strategy breaks new ground and represents a more consultative approach, not just between customer and supplier, but crucially between IT departments and business areas.
That is why we engaging with a wider audience, beyond the IT department. In helping companies focus on their priorities, and identify the roadblocks, we need a vision: you can only get to value by understanding your overall business vision.
Just like our HXD approach, Fujitsu’s data-driven transformation strategy is about democratizing access to data within an organization. For a long time, data has been the domain of the data scientists and information security experts – and other people in an organization will readily admit they don’t understand or are fearful of trying to get their heads around the technology.
My colleagues in Fujitsu's Product business have recognized the real power of data is when it is placed in the hands of decision-makers. Our challenge is to change the approach to data from it being in a black box, owned by the data specialists, to that of a shared commodity that can be used across the business to inform, provide insight and drive new value.
To twist a popular analogy, if you say that data is the new gold, then instead of just drilling an oilfield, we are thinking about how we will use the oil we extract, and how we can democratize access to the oil among stakeholders within an organization.
We use Human Centric Experience Design as a common language to help the collaboration between business experts and technologists. It’s important to break down the barriers between different professional disciplines by making sure we are talking about the exact same thing – which is why it is key at the start of the process to bring people to a common understanding of both the focus area or challenge and the opportunities created in addressing the challenge.
We are also strict about making sure everyone is very clear about the shared vision of an outcome. The technology industry is full of jargon and acronyms, which sometimes make it harder to understand. We find different language or words to make sure everyone is on board.
And we encourage people involved in the co-creation process to really develop their understanding of data, how it is gathered, structured, and processed. That’s super important because a lot of decision-making is informed by data models. If you always leave the understanding to the backroom data experts, then how can you help design how the data can create new value and therefore benefit from new insights?
Bringing out the best in everyone
Just like in everyday situations, there are always more vocal as well as quieter participants in any co-creation process. For a truly successful project, we must ensure all voices are heard – and create a level playing field for people with different thinking styles to contribute their unique perspective.
Some people are good at talking, others are better at writing, or visualizing, or listening and reflecting on what others have said. Our processes encourage these different styles, to bring out the best in everyone. We know that true collaboration around a shared purpose will drive much more rounded and successful outcomes.
Caring about data
It’s easier to be passionate once you have a clear, common purpose. Our purpose here is focussed on being able to derive new insights and informed decision making that data solutions can provide. A simple but essential mantra is the focus on using data to drive transformation, and not about transforming data itself.
Recognizing the value in this goal helps us individually to invest our time and energy in securing strong outcomes. Indeed, caring about a topic and outcome something helps us give our best. In co-creation projects, we want people to be active and have an emotional commitment towards the mutually developed concept.
Sure, every project will have sticking points that we must overcome; maybe it’s unlocking investment from the board or bringing a new stakeholder onboard without derailing the project. I have seen the enormous power in bringing 10 to 20 people together to create a program they are all passionate about – it’s so much more than just lending support to one person’s pet project.
For us, success is about building that mutual emotional commitment and an active consensus in how to achieve this important shared goal
As part of the process, we want to ensure that teams have a good time in our projects. It’s a fact that people perform better when they are happy. You’ll find a lot of laughter coming out of our physical and virtual co-creation working.
That’s the sound of creativity – bringing people together to reach the goal of driving true transformation by closing the gap between data, IT, and business. And let’s face it, you don’t often hear the sound of shared laughter in a webinar.