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December 7, 2022
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Webinar Highlights: Innovation through Creative Collaboration in a Hybrid Work Model

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If you missed our latest webinar, don’t worry! Keep reading for a summary of the main takeaways.

Before the pandemic, creative collaboration and communication were a lot easier. Whether it was a chat at the water cooler or lunch with a colleague, discussions often led to creative ideas and business solutions. Fast forward to today, post-pandemic, how can a workforce that is dispersed, hybrid, or fully remote generate organic conversations that inspire collaboration and innovation?

Our latest webinar provided attendees with answers to the question above! The webinar hosted by Samuel Miller, Product Marketing Manager at ServiceRocket, with guest speaker, Dr. Jay Rao, Professor at Babson Executive Education, provided important insights along with a framework and actionable steps to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Foundation Principles for Innovation

In order to understand innovation, it is first important to understand the foundation principles of what innovation really consists of. According to Rao, leaders first need to have a foundational understanding of risk, uncertainty and ambiguity. You may be asking yourself: What is the difference between the three terms?

Risk is about having the data, and includes aspects such as known markets, competitors, products and technologies. Uncertainty on the other hand relates to what is unknown, things that we cannot calculate because we don't have enough information about it. Ambiguity is when there can be more than one interpretation and something isn't fully clear.

Comprehending these three terms will help you understand whether something is truly innovative or not.

Read more: Beyond the Tools: Investing in Collaboration that Actually Works

What is Innovation?

Now that the foundation principles are clear, let’s focus on what innovation really means. Before beginning your own personal innovation journey, it is important that the definition of the word is properly defined. Doing this will help hold everyone in your company accountable to the same standard.

To solve the puzzle of innovation, ask yourself: Does what you are doing create social value? Does it change competitive dynamics in the market? If yes, and if you’ve discussed and minimized the possibility of risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity — then you’re on the right track.

Keeping Intergenerational Change in Mind

Diversity of thought is often the wellspring of ideas. As managers and leaders of intergenerational workforces, it is important to know (especially) in virtual work environments, that innovation can be perceived differently by colleagues, even those in the same generation. Companies with cultures that embrace new ideas and change with stable confidence will reap the rewards of innovation.  

Why Innovation Matters

Did you know… only 6% of leaders are satisfied with their company’s innovative performance? This shows how much potential is still being missed. There are $9.3 billion dollars of additional value for companies that make the most of opportunities to collaborate and innovate. Yes, you read that right! 9.3 billion dollars. A Deloitte study on this topic showed the following:

The Challenges and Solutions of Innovation

Research shows that the most common challenges to innovation can be grouped into three categories: Impractical expectations, lack of innovation strategies, and an unempowered innovation team.

  • Impractical expectations of innovation foster a loss of innovative output and team confidence. Leaving room for trial and error, while instituting a build-measure-learn attitude with a defined innovation process, will help solve this problem.
  • A lack of innovation strategies includes misaligned innovation efforts. To combat this problem, create a defined set of objectives with clear steps and define how to meet those objectives.
  • An unempowered innovation team occurs when the responsibility of innovation is shared but not prioritized, and leaders become concerned that innovating will take time away from their daily responsibilities. Leaders can combat this by promoting innovation as inclusive and making it a part of the core culture.

Read more: HR’s Next Challenge: How to Increase Effective Collaboration in the Future of Work

Fundamentals of Building a Culture of Innovation

The five fundamentals of a culture of innovation include:

Believe and Value

The 50 most innovative public companies hold innovation as a central value three times as often as the rest of the S&P 500. Cascading values of innovation to the ground-level employee experience is fundamental to driving a culture of innovation.

Frame and Champion

To build optimism and encourage risk-taking, leadership must frame innovation as fundamental to the organization’s success. By discussing stories of (internal and external) past, present, and future innovations, leaders can champion innovation and expand employees’ views of what is possible.

Signal and Symbolize

Symbols hold great power which can be leveraged to reinforce the need for innovation. They can be physical, verbal, or action-oriented, and leaders can signal the importance of innovation by offering a reward and recognition to innovators.

Show and Ritualize

To institutionalize innovation, companies should establish routines and rituals such as innovation days and hackathons to signal innovation’s central role.

Shield and Empower

Build a sense of belonging and safety through a shared commitment to innovation. Empower employees by letting them know that it’s okay to experiment, ask questions, and encourage feedback.

Read more: Why Smart CEOs Get Involved in their Company’s Culture

Collaboration Tools that Foster a Culture of Innovation

To foster a culture of innovation, leaders should institute innovation rituals, and what better way to innovate than to host a Hackathon? At ServiceRocket, we use tools such as Confluence, Jira, Miro, Workplace, and Oracle NetSuite. Learn more about the tools below, how your team can use them to take collaboration to the next level and host the best Hackathon ever.

Atlassian Confluence

Confluence is a team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet. With dynamic pages, your team has a place to capture, collaborate, and create any project or idea. Spaces help your team structure, organize, and share work, so every team member has visibility into institutional knowledge and access to the information they need to do their best work. In simple terms, it’s similar to a Wikipedia page for your business that you can update regularly. The perfect place to lay out the rules for a Hack Week.


Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that enables distributed teams to work effectively together, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and managing agile workflows. Miro has all the features and templates you need to go from ideation to execution of new products and company initiatives. The ideal way for your remote or hybrid employees' voices to be heard and have their Hack Week ideas represented in a visual manner. Teams can also prioritize features, benefits and identify action items.

See also: ServiceRocket's Hack Week recap

Atlassian Jira and JSM

Jira is the number one software development tool that is used by companies across the world to manage agile teams. The versatile tool helps assign action items and keep track of the progress made toward a project such as Hack Week. While it’s known for being used by software development teams but it can also be used for general project management.

Workplace from Meta

Workplace from Meta is an all-in-one business platform that enables collaboration through a familiar and easy-to-use user interface. With features like chat, video calls, groups, and posts, no matter who you are collaborating with, regardless of time zone, the right features to get your message across are available on demand. For Hack Week, ServiceRocket created an open group where teams pitched their ideas through videos and images to explain the value of their idea and garner votes from the judges.  

Oracle NetSuite

NetSuite is the leading integrated cloud business software suite for enterprise resource planning. It helps manage inventory, track financials, host e-commerce stores, and maintain customer relationship management systems.

Fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation is more important than ever, especially in a hybrid and/or remote workforce. Whether it’s through an event such as Hack Week, or by having an optimized tech stack in place at your company – ensure that creative collaboration is always being encouraged. To read other blogs or to watch recordings of our webinar series focused on the #futureofwork, visit our website.

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