How to co-create a digital workplace fit for the future

By Ramanan Ramakrishna, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

Co-creation means a lot of different things to different people. For me, the most important thing to understand is that not everything should be co-created.

Co-creation should be reserved for solving problems that aren’t necessarily visible now.

It involves bringing together partners, vendors, and in some instances, even competitors, to combine their intellectual property (IP) and resources to produce solutions for the issues that the future might hold.

Co-creation should start with identifying problem statements and then looking for an answer, not retrofitting an existing technology or a solution.

This is of particular relevance to digital workplace services.

Given the pace of change in the sector, it’s vital we’re adopting a future-gazing approach to our new solutions.

Ask the right questions

Some of the questions at the heart of our co-creation projects revolve around the behavior of the next generation of employees or customers.

In many cases, we look at how consumers are becoming accustomed to accessing services in their personal lives – on-demand, on mobile, and personalized to their individual preferences.

Teaming resources and IP from a diverse range of industry operators, we can develop mutually beneficial solutions that map to future projections.

This, of course, begins with an understanding of employees and customers as consumers themselves. How do they behave, and what is driving this behavior?

There’s plenty of be gleaned from the past eight years or so of bring your own device (BYOD) and choose your own device (CYOD) initiatives here, in terms of bringing a consumer-led understanding to how people want to interact with their workplace devices and services.

Today this is forming the basis of co-created solutions that cover new mobile and omni-channel demands.

This, similarly to BYOD or CYOD, might not be a unique selling point anymore, but it is increasingly a necessary addition to any proposition aimed at attracting new talent.

Take an end-to-end approach

On-demand omni-channel and mobile solutions, though, are increasingly blurring the boundaries between service desk work and solutions that can be accessed straight from a user’s device.

An emphasis on cloud-based delivery has in turn increased the importance of being able to provide truly end-to-end workplace solutions – solutions that can be applied to all types of vendors and customers and, ultimately, end users.

This is as good a cause as any for co-creation.

Take till printers, for example. Of course, in an ideal world, all till printers would be Fujitsu printers but the reality is that’s not the case. Any digital workplace service solution, therefore, needs to be applicable across the board, end-to-end – which, though large, is exactly the kind and scale of problem statement that co-creation is fit for.

In practical terms, this might involve working alongside vendors on ticket analytics solutions, or using intelligent engineering practices to develop field services that implement predictive analytics and open opportunities for partners to conduct preventative maintenance.

We’ve done exactly this in Japan, working closely with METAWATER to co-create more agile field maintenance solutions.

The key is to take a broad view, tackling issues that cut across sectors and providing solutions that work from end to end. It’s too easy to get bogged down in your comfort area; part of co-creation, and what it has to offer, is focusing on the unknowns the future holds.

The future is generational

In time, as the effect of having multiple generations contained within a single workforce, it will become more and more important for solutions to be co-created (since this shared approach inevitably will bring more representative perspectives into play).

While consumerization is arguably the big driving factor today, in time there’ll be greater need to recognize that the consumer experience of technology can be vastly different for people of older or younger generations.

Of course, when you’re developing solutions for the future, you have to understand the people who’ll be living in it…

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