Innovation 101: How to ensure innovator involvement during a pandemic

I have ideas, innovation teams, chief data officers, chief innovation officers, and products on how to ensure a high level of engagement while everyone works from home, leaving the company’s innovation labs and centers isolated. We have a lot of conversations with the design team. In my honest opinion, this is a real challenge!

Innovation workers need to connect with their teammates, collaborate on creative ideas, provide and get immediate feedback, feel the spirit of the team, and celebrate joint achievements. This is difficult for home office colleagues who are connected only by laptops.

Still, some tools can help you get closer to your pre-pandemic engagement level.

  • Set an example and turn on the camera during the meeting. Allow people to see your reaction and feel personally connected while talking to team members and during regular stand-ups, backlog meetings, or review meetings. Let’s get everyone to turn on the camera! Complementing your hearing with a visual experience will give you a little bit of a sense of physical encounter with a person.
  • Simulate a physical innovation lab. You can set up a virtual reality lab to allow teammates, top managers, budget holders, and other stakeholders to experience innovation progress beyond traditional progress reports on slides. You can use a 360-degree camera in your home office to understand what your team is doing and how it feels. Stakeholders who dispose of virtual reality devices can get a complete experience, but those who use computers can get a decent sense of what’s going on. For those who are interested, you may want to offer a virtual tour through the Innovation Lab every Friday morning. Participants can enter the virtual lab from the website, select the teams and members they are most interested in, and start a conversation that includes 360-degree camera images and voice conversations.
  • By having the crowd vote for the idea, we show that the idea’s goal-achieving process is still working. Employees of all companies need access to the innovation platform to comment and vote on ideas. Ideas that are voted “hot” are the next step in allocating a budget. Anyone interested can see the work in progress. A graphical dashboard makes it easy to track what’s going on and sees innovation management initiatives working at full speed.
  • Encourage your teammates to exchange progress daily. Alternatively, colleagues can drink virtual tea or coffee and share whatever comes to mind. A Forrester client has organized a 24/7 Microsoft Teams team. This team acts as a virtual coffee corner where people are free to join whenever they are resting. When someone joins the virtual coffee corner, others receive push notifications.
  • Provide feedback and verbal rewards. These are more important than ever. Strengthening the team’s identity and mission is a positive employee experience movement that can boost morale.

Download Forrester’s free 2021 Forecasting Guide here to understand the business and technology trends that are essential to 2021.

This post was written by Principal Analyst Bernhard Schaffrik and was originally displayed here.

Innovation 101: How to ensure innovator involvement during a pandemic

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