Stretch Towards Everything.
This is the second case study of seven, reviewing how category design can generate outsize organizational outcomes. This post, we discuss how we can dissipate boundaries inside an organization, and with external stakeholders. We are all on the same side.
Reminder of category design definition:
A way to create and frame a new service or product, often in an emergent or game-changing way, using the principles of design thinking: What is… What if… What wows… What works…
Here is the PDF version.
The enduring challenges (What is…):
- Inertia: information and narrative flows are slow, expensive and bureaucratic.
- Them and Us: there is resistance to, and scepticism as to the value of, sharing stories externally, beyond a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
The point of view (what if…)
- Let’s get rid of the internal-external divide; reduce cost and bureaucracy and increase velocity.
- Let’s create a single, trusted perspective of the brand. 95% of what is said, shared and discussed inside the organization is applicable and useful for external stakeholders. Let’s share it.
- Let’s unlock external brand value by sharing the authentic stories and voices of the organization.
We had a zero-cost, minimal effort solution <see case study: TRUST>. The use of our Yammer enterprise social network (ESN) was ubiquitous. The content was there, and content owners had self-identified through their postings. Once the work was shared internally, we noticed how easily and organically it became socialized. People discussed the content, comments refined it, “Likes” acknowledged its worth. Sharing content, making the work visible became normalized.
The Communications function recognized the opportunity to harness this content energy flow. Whereas previously generating content had been hard project management – discover what projects were noteworthy, determine the Subject Matter Expert (SME), pester leaders who were so very “busy” to download content to us to finesse, generate sign-off back through the hierarchy – now, we could channel SME energy, repackage existing content and publish. The internal-external divide dissipated. The brand blossomed.
The mobilization (what works…)
The Communications team was able to activate 100s of stories a year via the ESN content. A comment would be added to content: “Can we use this story externally?” Once approval was received, the Communications team would ‘tidy’ the copy, ensure corporate voice congruence, and post through to our external channels.Moreover, because the work was discussed in public, other voices could chime in if they had perspectives on its use externally. The global hivemind provided a natural audit function. The efficiency gains were incredible.
As the ESN had naturally delivered so many interesting stories of excellence, we were able to rebuild the website around storytelling (vs. static “What We Do” pages). Our social channels took off, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram <see CULTURE Case study>. One of our main audiences on social was remote field workers and their families, who had been difficult to reach theretofore. The flow of information and narrative went full-circle, back to its source.
Dis!Organize Reference material:
This Much We Know.