Have you taken on the best project and change management practices?

Is your organization implementing or planning the implementation of a new technology such as an ERP, PLM, CRM, HRIS, or even a new e-commerce platform? Within the constant ebb and flow of our organizations, change management is a key pillar in supporting project management and creating symbiosis between people and technology. It helps minimize uncertainty, address resistance, and encourages compliance and buy-in from employees.

In fact, project leadership that leverages sound change management techniques are six times more likely to reach or surpass their objectives than those that do not!

Talsom created the following questions as a starting point to reflect on your project and change management processes. To obtain a birds-eye-view of your current situation, 3 key pillars are considered: project supervision, project management, and change management. Your answers will help us:

1- Create a customized summary of your project and change management context
2- Share a high-level evaluation of your status with regards to the 3 pillars of project and change management
3- Provide you with recommendations that you can then leverage as a starting point for a discussion with your peers

Take the test and instantly get your diagnosis with
customized recommendations

Takeaways and lessons learned from the Design Thinking Jam

Weren’t able to attend the 2018 Design Thinking jam? We’ve got you covered – in this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the first of these events, as well as cover the state of affairs alongside the “L’Itinéraire” project.

Since last summer, Talsom’s innovation experts have been accompanying the community group throughout a comprehensive Design Thinking process in order to help the organization and its vendors come to terms with the reality of digital content consumption in the context of street ‘zine sales.

A human-scale ideation session
September 13th, 2018: The Faubourg Québec space was buzzing. The reality is that it’s uncommon to have a gathering of about 180 people underneath an overpass to host an outdoor Design Thinking workshop. An unusual venue, a sunny afternoon, and a strong desire to make a lasting, positive impact – all ingredients that help stimulate creative thinking. As the participants arrived and spread out across about thirty picnic tables, we got to work.

 design thinking jam takeaways

A space for unorthodox ideas

Following a detailed explanation by the event hosts coupled with a clear understanding of the worker and working environment, each team was assigned a design challenge for which they had to come up with solutions via a brainstorming session.

Identified beforehand by the project teams, these four design challenges are the results of initial research and observation conducted over the first months of the project:

  • How do we increase visibility, awareness and contributions for the L’Itinéraire organization?
  • How do we enable potential buyers to purchase L’Itinéraire products using a payment method other than cash?
  • How do we ensure that the interaction between the vendor and the public is memorable, pleasant and mutually beneficial for both parties involved?
  • How do we highlight the vendor’s best qualities through a more relevant and interesting product or service?

Quantity, broad thinking and an open mind were the keywords of the day – there aren’t any bad ideas. All told, over a thousand ideas were put to paper.

“Ideation is the funnest part of Design Thinking
– that’s when we let our craziest ideas out!” – Adil Mansouri, Tech Strategy & Innovation Consultant.

Once all the ideas are categorized, participants vote for their favourites. Out of this ideation step, every team has to narrow their choice down to one single idea in order to move forward.

Design Thinking Jam 2018 L'Itineraire Montreal

When an idea comes to life
What’s the next step after we’ve identified the right idea? We need to make it real. To accomplish this, the event participants were provided with boxes containing various tools and materials allowing them to craft a version of their idea. Each team then recorded their very own presentation of their prototype.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE VIDEO PRESENTATIONS

Following this step, known as the “imagination phase”, over 30 prototypes were developed by our participants.

“One of the interesting quirks of Design Thinking is how much deeper we dive than in what folks think of as traditional brainstorming when we’re facing a challenge. What each participant was able to accomplish within the span of 3 hours involved placing themselves in the skin of the organization’s workers, learning about their on-the-ground reality, helping find ideas and developing them.”
– Dany Jutras, Tech Strategy & Innovation Consultant.

design thinking Tech Strategy & Innovation

Three weeks later – where are we now?
Thanks to all the content coming out of the Design Thinking Jam, the team was able to collect considerable data to move the project forward. The team members learned a great deal about the organization’s workers and their environment. Furthermore, the team participated once again in a new ideation exercise based upon hundreds of ideas stemming from the last event. By adopting an iterative approach, the final proposed answer stands a greater chance of achieving success with the workers and the public.

“Upon review of all the ideas and prototypes, we chose the ones with the greatest feasbility and potential impact to push them even further. We then presented those to the team at L’itinéraire.”
– Valérie Dionne, Innovation & Tech Strategy Consultant.

Ideas are only brought to life when there’s work behind them. That’s why our teams evaluate the selected project for feasibility, impact and viability. Design Thinking considers potential solutions along a financial, social and technological axis.

Testing prototypes in the field
This past week, the team turned their focus on the next phase in Design Thinking: co-creation.

Coinciding with the release of the latest edition of L’Itinéraire magazine, our experts accompanied the vendors at the points of sale to test two carefully chosen payment options with the aid of prototypes and thorough testing, in order to determine various hypotheses for each potential solution.

Over the next two weeks, the team will continue to work with the public and with the vendors to not only validate the initial ideas which sprung out from the Design Thinking Jam, but also to foster additional innovation and potential solutions. Furthermore, L’Itinéraire can already begin envisioning what the ultimate idea will look like, a solution that has already been validated, tested and accepted by both the public and the vendors.


Live – or relive – the 2018 Design Thinking Jam experience?

A new service offer based on Design Thinking

Last week, Talsom unveiled its new “Technology Strategy and Innovation” service offer at Salon Connexion. This new offer based on the Design Thinking approach, is part of the support that Talsom offers companies in all of their digital transformation from strategy to implementation, through business architecture, project leadership and change management. 

A digital transformation powered by Design Thinking (DT / DT)

In an era where digital transformation has become a concrete reality for every business, Talsom wants to support each of its customers in defining their identity and their digital target. Indeed, organizations that fail to identify these two variables will find it difficult to survive in the environment, that is becoming more and more competitive. Supported by our team of experts in Design Thinking, each company will be able to make these key digital decisions that will serve as a guide for all of its initiatives and activities.

We can not measure what we do not define

We embed an innovation-driven culture at the heart of organizations and co-create organizational designs, processes, channels, services, and digital products. Through the approved approach of Design Thinking, we want to make digital transformation a lever of differentiation, competitiveness and growth for each company. The cornerstone of innovation, Design Thinking is more than just an approach, it is a state of mind based on empathy. With a deep understanding of users, their needs, and the ecosystem in which they operate, the iterative approach of Design Thinking creates a collaborative climate from which viable and desired solutions to the marketplace emerge.

We can not improve what we do not measure

Today 56% of CEOs confirm that improvements made through the introduction of digital have already increased their profits [1]. Design Thinking supports companies in aligning their strategic vision with the successful execution of their technology projects.

To download the details of the new offer, visit our PAGE.

Mobile Application or Mobile Website: How to Decide?

Have you counted the number of applications (or “apps”) that you have downloaded onto your cellphone? The answer is probably in the 100 range, without including the number of updates that you are asked to install each week!

What should your business choose to offer: a mobile app or a mobile website?

Depending on the use that you wish to make of it, both of these solutions are worth considering. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

In the case of mobile apps, these are defined as software applications that are downloaded onto a mobile device, whereas mobile websites are Internet sites that are tailored to the formats of smartphones and tablets.

How long will mobile app remain on our devices before we decide to remove them? This is up for debate. Mobile websites, however, are at all times available to users.

Over time, the support and maintenance of a mobile app could require more effort compared to a website.

Mobile app updates must be downloaded by users, thereby reducing the available space on their devices, whereas web updates are less cumbersome both for users and for businesses.

Is it thus worth considering the abandonment of mobile apps?

By 2019, it is predicted that 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps (Pemberton, 2017). Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to entice users to download an app, as they have the luxury of choosing whether or not to do so.

This shows that the number of app downloads has plateaued due to user fatigue for downloading and using the apps that are available. It is accordingly difficult for businesses to maintain interest among users for their mobile apps (Leow, Baker, Marshall, Revang and Wong, 2016).

By 2022, it is predicted that 70% of software interactions will be completed on a mobile platform, but if the trend continues, apps will only be one element in the chain of interactions between users and their devices rather than being at the centre of these interactions. For example, virtual personal assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Google Now will become increasingly present in such interactions and will thus leave less room for the apps themselves (Leow et al., 2016).

You must be wondering: what are the recovery prospects for developers and promoters of apps?

Here are a few proposed solutions.

One suggestion is to put emphasis on the development of ultra-personalized user experiences. This means developing sophisticated apps that use cloud computing services as well as device functionalities to manage data to make predictions for user needs in real time and to offer a unique, personalized and dynamic experience (Leow at al., 2016).

In the case of a mobile app for a retail business, rather than sending the same notification to all users for a 30% rebate, the notification could be sent to one client in particular according to his or her needs, determined according to his or her online activity and profile saved in the customer relationship management (CRM) records of the business.

For example, according to the cumulative historical data on a user based on his or her past use, it is a lunchtime that this client is most likely to consult his or her mobile device. It is accordingly at this time that the customer receives a limited-time offer of 50% savings available at his or her favourite swimwear retailer, meanwhile a local heat wave is predicted for the following week!

It is anticipated that by 2021, 50% of all apps will generate personalized events according to user interest, thereby rendering mobile applications more efficient (Leow et al., 2016).

Brands who design such apps will thus have a better chance of success.

Top Five Tips for Communicating Change Effectively

When it comes to change management, effective communication helps to produce the best results. To remain competitive, perform well and adapt to market fluctuations, businesses have to evolve. But the changes that accompany such evolution sometimes prompt employees to experience uncertainty or to feel a loss of control. Seventy percent of change solutions fail in part due to human factors. Why is this the case? One reason is that due to a lack of effective communications, employees are prevented from understanding the reasons behind the change.

Communication is essential for helping employees to successfully navigate through a transition period. To help guide your success, Talsom is providing advice below on how to execute such communication effectively.

  1. Getting Started? Start Planning!

Before doing anything else, structure your efforts by preparing a communication plan as part of your change management plan. In so doing, you will ensure that the information you are expressing is consistent.

Start by describing the reason behind the change and what it means for employees, so that you may then concentrate the message towards a description of the coming changes, in particular as regards any applicable technical aspects. At the same time, determine who your target audience is: each recipient concerned by the project should not be approached in the same way.

Planning and punctuality go hand in hand. Start communicating early, that way you are more proactive and employees will begin to feel involved in the process. “But isn’t it risky to do so if I lack information?” You can communicate without necessarily having every detail that concerns the change or the solution. For example, you may wish to share information concerning needs and inform employees that other details will be communicated shortly. It is the lack of information that creates confusion and resistance.

Several parties are involved in this type of project, including senior executives, members of the project, internal and external clients, supplies and even sub-contractors.

 

  1. What Should You Communicate? Address the “Why” before the “How”.

“Why are changes being made?” is one of the first questions that employees generally tend to ask. Concentrate your initial communications on the reasons for the change and do not forget to reinforce this aspect throughout the transition.

If there is uncertainty, questions will result. Communicating is not only a method for sharing a message, it also involves the adoption of an interactive and iterative approach for fostering understanding and for providing a group with common direction. Communication addressed to employees, especially at the very start, should aim to answer the most relevant questions:

“How will the change affect me? How will it affect my team?”

In each of your answers, employees must also be able to discover what the change means for them personally. It is extremely important for them to understand how their roles will change and their adaptation to the image of the business.

 

  1. And if You Have Several Target Audiences? Adapt Your Message.

The same message should not address everyone (except perhaps key elements concerning the announcement of the project). During a project, information can pass from executives to middle managers all the way to employees. It is thus important to adapt the messages and to present them as simultaneously as possible to avoid an information overload. You can analyze the impacts of your target recipients to define the messages and the frequency of communications.

Without effective communication, the target recipients’ lack information combined with their personal perceptions will lead to misunderstandings that will have an impact on the transition.

 

  1. How Can You Ensure that You Are Heard? Use the Voices of Leaders.

Comparative analysis research shows that employees are more responsive to messages when they are shared by two categories of individuals within the organization:

  • The sponsors of the change who can discuss the reason behind the transition. The sponsors play a key role because they regularly communicate key messages concerning the vision and goals of the project.
  • Their immediate supervisors who can better speak to the personal impact that the change creates.

 

 

  1. How Can You Communicate? Use a Multi-Channel Approach.

When businesses are undergoing change, employees have the reflex to send messages that are often lost in their recipients’ voluminous inboxes. On average, less than half of internal communications are actually opened. By promoting multiple channels of communication, you will reduce these risks and thus increase your chances of reaching and mobilizing 100% of the target audience.

By communicating announcements or updates on your Intranet, you will facilitate employee access to this information, as employees will be able to consult it as needed at a later time. Discussion boards are another effective solution during a period of organizational change. By sharing their questions, concerns and ideas publicly or in a private group, your employees will become more involved in the change.

It is also recommended to encourage sponatenous interaction via online instant messaging. As a manager or company executive, it could even be helpful to make yourself available for virtual meetings to speak with employees.

But by making communications appealing, isn’t this an effective solution for reducing a lack of comfort during a transition period? Cloud-based platforms such as GoAnimate design animated videos to help teams explain organizational change or the solutions that it presents. By using a scenario‑based tool that is fun, personalized and often humorous, you will help foster a friendly environment that promotes your employees’ understanding and involvement.

Face-to-face meetings with employees remain the best way to ensure that your messages are well received. By obtaining their feedback directly, you can adapt your communication approach as needed.

A change champion network is also helpful for communicating key messages, particularly when you have a large number of employees and it is important to have supporters in each department.

Change generally involves a lot of brainstorming within the organization. It is the people who make up the organization who, through their involvement and ideas, create it and provide it with direction. Employees will feel more invested in the process if they are given a voice by which to express themselves. With the right tools, your communication will be effective and inspire people to make a difference.

Lassonde Projet Concur

Mandate and challenges

In recent years, Lassonde’s growth has led to an increased need for travel.This new business reality led Lassonde to reconsider the way it manages travel and employee expenses.Talsom was commissioned to manage the implementation and deploymentof the complete solution for managing business travel and employee expenses throughout the entire company.

 

More than 450 affected employees

More than 10 business locations across Canada

A new technological solution that replaces a manual process

 

Needs and objectives

  • Implement an effective, fair, company-wide tool for managing travel expenses for the entire organization that’s suited to the new business reality and the changing economic environment
  • Make information and the application of policies consistent and uniform throughout Lassonde
  • Make the system accessible, secure and confidential, at all times, from anywhere via the Internet
  • Support employees by providing more effective tools
  • Automate the process from A to Z
  • Reduce the administrative burden that results from using multiple tools
  • Select and implement a corporate credit card program that is compatible with the expense management tool
  • Develop and deploy a travel agency services
  • Move forward with the progressive roll-out of the various components

Put the employee at the center of the organization

Mandate and Challenges

Today more than ever before, businesses are searching for ways to innovate and to ensure that they are industry leaders. To do so, they can now turn to new technologies trending on the market, review their business processes and ultimately take part in the wave of innovation. Several businesses have very wisely taken such highly useful aproaches, thus demonstrating their will to be proactive to avoid being left behind.

In the present case, our client took its reflection a step further by addressing the very needs of its employees before it began the process of implementing changes. It asked itself the following question : “ How can I place my employees at the heart of the organization ? ” The idea behind this inquiry was to ensure that the  members of the company were fully mobilized and had the will to participate in the future growth of the company. The client thus wished to define the employee experience by ensuring it understood the key needs of its employees.
This would indeed make for the very challenge of the project: placing employees at the heart of the approach.

Needs and Objectives

  • Develop an environment in which each employee can develop on a professional and personal level.
  • Define an employee experience that aligns with the company’s values.
  •  Translate the information and comments received into concrete, achievable actions.
  • 22 days of projects.
  • 6 members of the transdisciplinary horizon project team.
  • 60 individual interviews.
  • Generation of 500 new ideas.
  • Creation and validation of 74 ideas.
  • Delivery of a solution that equally concerns both the company’s culture and technology

Potential Solutions

The client successfully achieved two key deliverables. First, it was able to target the answers to important issues that employees had communicated and to respond to them with both technological and support tools. This solution, which resulted in a Team Member Journey, was ultimately validated by employees. Second, the solution consisted of defining the pillars of the company in an effort to mobilize employees. As part of this process, a cultural change was instilled within management in order to fully mobilize employees and thus support the company’s growth. This led
to the development of procedures whereby employees can understand the meaning behind their work, become empowered to realize their potential and be recognized for their efforts.