Human-Centred Innovation in a Remote World

2020 started off with a blast, we are only barely through the first quarter and it already feels like 3 years have passed us by. The world is together in a common goal to ensure we can save lives of millions. Creative Thinkers have been put to the test.

How might we live our lives, do our jobs, find happiness and joy, in the midst of absolute chaos?

We have completely rethought many things about our society. We have seen teachers adapt their curriculum to deliver online to students, artists create incredible concerts in their living rooms, and weddings using ZOOM weddings. Right now is not normal, but our ability to innovate despite the circumstances is absolutely beautiful.

This is Human Resilience.

 

In the midst of uncertainty, we are finding new ways to create remarkable experiences and innovations. I have found a remote Human-Centred Approach to Innovation incredibly different and similar to in-person at the same time. I have been encouraged over the past two days for how our teams are adapting to this remote style while exploring the 1B Lives problem spaces.

An initiative at SAP that has employees becoming intrapreneurs to build ventures that will impact the world. Rather than working in our planned in-person style sessions, participants have jumped into a remote working environment.

With remote experiences we still need to: develop empathy for others and the problems they are facing, create strong inclusive communities, build a shared vision and language, allow for wild and crazy thinking for solving problems, and deliver with a just start spirit. The techniques I use might differ from an in-person experience to a remote version, but these core principals remain constant.

Inclusive Communities: Breaking down barriers with physical distance is often a challenge. I encourage people to switch on cameras at the start of the session. This video allows participants to see each other and give a face to an idea that is shared.

Empathy for Others: There’s an abundance of empathy throughout this crisis. We are creating a deep understanding of others needs and the challenges they are facing. For your challenges, this could be done by sharing pictures of home “offices”, doing over the phone, and watching target personas navigate through a tool with screen-sharing.

Wild and Crazy Thinking: Encourage people to step into a new environment using a virtual background. For example, they’re living in outer space and need to solve the problem with limited resources, or they are on stage and need to present a proposal like a world leader. During silent brainstorming sessions, play background music to give people the opportunity to think without an awkward silence.

Shared Vision and Language: Visual thinking is paramount when working in-person and remotely to getting teams unstuck in their traditional mindset and allow them to understand each other. Using virtual collaboration tools, like MURAL, give each participant the opportunity to share their perspective, then together the teams can prioritise and vote on ideas.

Just Start Spirit: With change all around us, we need to create clear focus and direction. It is crucial when working in this virtual environment that meetings end with actionable next steps. Using a tool like “Who / Do” allows teams to define the stakeholders and actions needed to continue moving forward.

These are some of the ways I have successfully shifted our traditional in-person workshops to being highly productive remote sessions. As the world continues to innovate in the distant-working environment, I look forward to trying new things that help my colleagues and customers challenge their traditional approach.

To learn more how you can manage your daily lives working from home visit the new Thrive Global digital hub.

This article originally published on Linkedin.