As a cluster organization, we have members with many similarities but they also differ in size, geographic location and ways of working. During the project, we have discovered the benefits of digitizing the network and making people across the world available to each other. The benefits of a digital network are many. For example, a digital network can streamline the possibility for communication by saving time and being able to be filtered and searched. But above all, by not having boundaries, you can reach out to anyone, at anytime.
Dig the digital!
Digitizing the innovation process can be an effective way to increase collaboration among participants. It could mean that neither time nor place needs to limit the process. Participants can share ideas and knowledge regardless of where they are and at a time that suits them. It also makes it easier to invite people with specific competencies from other parts of the world. Creating a digital innovation environment online may contribute to more people feeling inclined to participate in the process. At their leisure, participants can contribute their ideas whenever they come up, go back through the course of events and build on each other’s thoughts. Also, individuals who are better at written communication than spoken communication make a bigger impact than they otherwise would have because they can pitch their ideas and thoughts through a new channel. Have respect, however, because we all have different maturity levels and for some it can be more difficult and take a longer time to embrace new working methods and digital tools.
The benefits of digital platforms are that you can work more effectively with networking and generating and developing ideas. Even with technology and all of its glory, it is us humans who are the most important tools in the development of new innovations. Digital collaboration has the best effect when it is combined with offline activities. A benefit of real-life meetings is, for example, that it’s easier for many people to build trust and feel solidarity with people they meet ”for real.” That’s why it is a good idea to pave the way for collaboration offline or to initiate digital collaboration for a group of people who already have established relationships.
The best result is attained if you can seamlessly integrate digital innovation arenas with ”real” innovation environments where people meet face to face. A first step can be to transfer thoughts and ideas that arise in physical meetings to a digital platform, where you then can work together to continue the innovation process and even invite others. If you work this way, you do not lose pace between your physical meetings. Think about how your established offline activities can be combined with digital actitivies so that what occurs in a physical room also will be able to be continued digitally.
Choose the right tool!
The digital tool you choose must be simple and intuitive to use. Changing one’s own way of working can take time. Changing another’s is even more difficult. It should not be seen as timeconsuming. On the contrary, it should save time! It is therefore essential that the functions are intuitively designed and well-adapted to your and the other participants’ needs. It must be uncomplicated and fun to take part in what happens on the platform as well as to contribute yourself. By creating a platform for digital collaboration, participants who are invited to the innovation process can communicate and interact with each other without needing the one who initiated the process to be involved. It is important though to remember that quite a lot of hands-on involvement is required to engage participants in a digital environment compared with engaging them in a physical meeting.
What are your thoughts?
- Have you missed a meeting that you really wanted to attend? Could you have worked together digitally instead?
- What digital platforms do you already use today? Could any of them be used in an innovation process?
- Who would you want to collaborate with that you don’t regularly meet face to face?
- How could you work more with digital collaboration in your workplace? What prevents you from applying a new way of working?