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How Improved Collaboration can Foster a Culture of Innovation

Team Collaboration
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September 29, 2022
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6
min read
By creating a sustainable culture of innovation, managers will see how employees feel valued, and both productivity and collaboration will begin to improve.

“I have always been passionate about enabling people. In the past few years, we have all experienced more challenges and transitions than expected. I needed to find a way to go out and support the masses. Most of my education is in organizational leadership, so I knew I could help vaster and faster by promoting awareness around the foundation of people’s days - their habits. Today, there are so many distractions in the workplace. We don’t generally have a class focused on developing good work habits. Because we're becoming so used to addressing every ping, we get caught in a whirlwind of jumping from red notification to red notification, all the dings, and short notice meetings. By the end of the day, all we have done is address the pings, bings, and requests, and accomplish little of what we set out to do.

When I discovered Time is Ltd. and what they were doing, I knew I needed to advance our mission. Not only because of the transition from working in-office to WFH but also because I’ve read so many books about daily habits and how they contribute to our success or failure. WFH versus in-office is not the root cause of poor work habits. Time is Ltd. brings awareness to teams and people so they can evaluate how they’re operating and make changes to improve productivity and effectiveness. No one likes to go home and ask, “Where did my day go?” They want to go home and say, “Wow, I accomplished most everything I set out to do, now I can relax, enjoy my family, play with my dog, and read a book on improving personal habits.” 

“Time is Ltd. is transforming organizations around the world, making thousands of people feel more accomplished, and I am so excited to be here!” Danae 

Innovation is an exciting process that includes developing something new in business models or technology; and any company has the opportunity to do this. Services, products, ideas, and even new solutions to old problems are considered innovative when the concept is introduced and widely accepted. Innovation has a lifecycle that begins with the launch of the product, service, etc., and ends when newer developments replace them. This is why creating a method for sustainable innovation is vital. For companies to stay relevant, they need to understand sustainable innovation to remain competitive. I focus on three tactics for sustainable innovation within this blog and propose some recommendations that will support any company in achieving competitive advantage through innovation. 

Innovation Zone

The first recommendation is to implement an innovation zone, a specific form of collaboration within an organization. This zone allows companies to create space for employees in all departments and levels to bring ideas. This practice enables ideas to be evaluated and commercialized when they create value. Innovation zones should not be confused with suggestion boxes. These zones are structured ways for people to present an idea that gets an evaluation. Using Slack or another group channel to bring people together would be an excellent way for teams to suggest, evaluate and bring solutions to decision-makers. This process is inclusive of everyone, and the less siloed your organization, the greater the ability to innovate due to optimal networking.

Companies must collectively back this effort so the innovative ideas gain the necessary support to launch. Some companies post problems they are experiencing, and then employees from all over the company can offer solutions to those problems. But how do you ensure it’s happening and effective? You have to measure it. A sociomap allows you to visualize who collaborates with whom. Sociomaps indicate which departments are collaborating and where there may be silos forming. Understanding where these gaps lie can help managers see why certain levels of innovation may be stronger in one area and not another.

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Learning Landscape

The second recommendation is to create a learning landscape. A learning landscape ensures that all employees are updated in their industry across the organization. Information is accessible anywhere, rather than just through formal education steps. Supporting everyone within the company at all levels will encourage more innovative ideas. A great way to start is with a channel in Slack called “Industry News and Competitive Updates.” In this channel, all employees can bring their knowledge, start conversations, and learn from each other. Lunch and learn sessions are also a great way to share new information or discuss what was posted in the slack channel. The learning landscape should be embedded within the company's culture to stay relevant in ever-changing environments. For continuous innovation, Leadership should commit to and encourage employees to share knowledge. To ensure this knowledge is shared, watch teams do it with a sociomap. 

Innovation Intersection

The final recommendation for a company’s innovation strategy is to ramp up the innovation intersection. The Innovation Intersection includes a variety of teams with different backgrounds coming together, when they usually wouldn’t, to innovate. The benefits of bringing diverse groups together are product improvements, more engaged teams, creative ideas, and dramatically improved problem-solving. This recommendation guarantees innovation and competitive advantage. Innovation intersections can occur in nearly any conversation. It would be beneficial to have structured brainstorming and feedback sessions that include idea documentation for further exploration, especially regarding customer requests. Are you able to see what departments are interacting with each other? Or who is pulling whom to different meetings? What if you had an innovation team that could see their interactions throughout your organization to collect valuable insights from every nook and corner of your organization? Below is an example of how to measure who is interacting with who.  More importantly, who is pulling on who? If you select a team for innovation, you can watch them pull others into conversations. You could also watch others pull the innovation team in when they have a great new idea to share!

Where Sustainable Innovation Takes You

These recommendations allow companies to enhance customer and employee experience. With the ability to identify and correct problems faster, employees will feel accomplished, and customers will be satisfied because your company has promptly met their expectations without leaving anything behind. Each recommendation provides more effective information exchange, promoting better teamwork through exchanging information and people collaborating to solve problems. Through these changes, any organization will operate at a lower cost, with more time for focus and collaboration to innovate, ultimately creating more demand on the bottom line. Companies across the globe must deploy innovation strategies to ensure collaboration becomes part of the company’s culture. The innovation zone will allow people to express their ideas and improvements and contribute to solutions that the leaders need help with. Each person within the organization should remain updated with current topics and be encouraged to spend time researching methods to improve and innovate for the betterment of the customers. At this point, for the company, innovation intersections are a prime opportunity. They should be taken advantage of for the internal and internal changes that need to be made for process and customer satisfaction. 

To learn more about innovation or talk about the strategies suggested please contact Danae at Danae@timeisltd.com

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Article by
Danae Tiedje
Sales and leadership professional with 10+ years experience, now Head of US Sales. Prior to Time is Ltd., Danae held sales and leadership roles in fintech, consulting, healthcare SaaS, hospitals, and healthcare systems with a primary focus on organizational growth and professional development.
Article by
Danae Tiedje
Sales and leadership professional with 10+ years experience, now Head of US Sales. Prior to Time is Ltd., Danae held sales and leadership roles in fintech, consulting, healthcare SaaS, hospitals, and healthcare systems with a primary focus on organizational growth and professional development.

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