Innovation, collaboration and the open organisation – John Knell

Like it or not, technology is fundamental to the way we work and play these days. We rely on it to connect, to inform and to entertain. Within the business world, technological change is a driving force, impacting corporate culture and transforming the way employees interact, communicate and collaborate. In 5-10 years’ time, corporate culture and the way we work will look completely different to the way it is today. I met with senior HR executives at the latest Kallidus Coffee Club in London recently to discuss how innovation impacts businesses, workforce management and the talent agenda.

People are talking about you

The bottom line is that organisations can no longer be insular. Why? The internet facilitates transparency; it breaks down old ways of communicating, changing the way you talk about your business and how you interact with internal and external stakeholders. The result? You can no longer control what is said about your brand. In terms of what is expected of businesses, the bar is well and truly raised. You can’t just broadcast information in a collaborative, multi-channel world; the era of the ‘many-to-many’. Internally and externally, people will always be talking about your business online. The fact is, you will be judged on your responses or lack thereof.

So what’s the solution? Think differently. Embrace an open approach. HR is ideally placed to encourage collaboration at every level of the business. In a technology-savvy world, many internal and external customers are likely to be already engaging in the conversations that are going on within, without and about your business. I recommend using this momentum to facilitate a united approach: face outwards, share, network, and always think outside the boundaries of your business.

Getting it right

Get it right and you can reap the rewards. If your employees are encouraged to work together, they can share and develop ideas, leading to greater innovation. With the necessary increased business transparency that comes with an open culture, you are likely to be rewarded with improved trust amongst your customer base, strengthening your brand.   And how does this impact the talent agenda? Transparency of communication will provide tangible insight into your talented employees, putting the spotlight firmly on those individuals who are truly engaged in collaboration, driving their own development, and providing real bottom line benefits for your business.

If you’re not there yet, why not start by reviewing your internal communications? It may sound obvious but I have yet to find an organisation that doesn’t believe they can do better at this. When it works well internally, you’ll have a blueprint for fine-tuning your external communication too. Foster open leadership styles and lead by example. Collaboration and innovation are the future. My advice? Grab hold with both hands and run with it!

Watch a video of my keynote presentation

John Knell has a well-established reputation as an outstanding public speaker on work and organisational transformation. John regularly addresses commercial audiences on topics such as leadership, talent, strategy, communications, and the future of work. By combining an ability to generate new ideas, exemplary communication skills, and the self-confidence to challenge entrenched status quo positions and the senior decision makers who often hold them, John has proved adept at influencing change in both public debate and within organisations. 

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