A great idea for an innovation research project and a stellar set of project partners to deliver it doesn't always mean a successful outcome. Understanding the perspectives of potential users of the innovation can make its impact so much greater. This means embedding the capabilities to ensure customer and stakeholder needs are listened to and addressed throughout each stage of the project.
I've been working on some complex innovation research projects involving Stickyworld, most recently for Project SCENe, and I wanted to share five ways our cloud-based platform makes it easy to put customer-collaboration at the heart of your innovation research.
- Keep reading if you are developing a research proposal or running an innovation project and want to understand how our online tools for customer collaboration could be helpful for your research.
1. Use #1 is team collaboration
Stickyworld makes it really easy for project managers to engage the team in visual collaboration so they can innovate faster together.
Complex research projects invariably involve the participation of lots of different kinds of organisations with different perspectives and working patterns. These often include SMEs, private and third sector organisations and universities. Project managers need to enable this diverse project team to communicate well, to share ideas and collaborate easily.
Setting up a project portal on Stickyworld for partners to work together on different work packages or activities is a practical way to build a fertile environment for innovation to flourish. It's also an easy way for the team to comment on and prepare quarterly progress reports. Stickyworld doesn't replace online tools for teams to present, store and share documents. Rather it provides a place for private team collaboration available 24/7. It saves time and makes the most of everyone's skills and contribution. It also creates a resource which the project manager can refer to during progress updates with monitoring teams.
2. Use #2 is end user collaboration
Every Stickyworld portal, and every participatory website or 'room' within that portal, is set up with a different target audience in mind and a different desired outcome. A research team can set up a series of online rooms to engage end users and customers at different stages of the project. For example, at the early stages customers can be asked to input their ideas, and, later on, to provide their feedback on your proposals. All sorts of media can be used to explain context or to inspire the imagination of participants. This customer collaboration helps to validate the viability of the innovation and to understand its likely adoption.
It's often easy with innovation research projects to let excitement cloud judgement. With Stickyworld it's quick, easy and inexpensive to involve customers to de-risk the project and also improve its lasting impact and outcomes.
3. Use #3 is wider stakeholder engagement
For research projects there is usually a wider team of people and stakeholders who should be informed and engaged to influence success. With complex research there can be many groups to involve including representatives from local government, academia, regulatory bodies, community groups, SMEs and large corporates.
It's often hard, time consuming and expensive to bring these people together and to find ways to gain their support and input. Stickyworld can be part of an effective engagement strategy. After face-to-face stakeholder meetings, for example, using Stickyworld means people can continue to discuss topics and contribute their ideas online. It works for open groups for public participation and secure private focus groups. The CRM makes it easy to invite specific groups of stakeholders to comment about specific aspects of the research.
4. Use #4 is dissemination
When a research project reaches the dissemination stage, it's time to share the insights widely so they can be understood, assessed and adopted. Knowledge transfer shouldn't just involve a series of presentations and long documents to read.
Effective dissemination is all about explaining what has been learned and encouraging people to see the opportunites, ask questions and understand the impact on their own work and lives. It's Stickyworld's capabilities to enable project teams to share information, and then to encourage questions and comments, that really helps here. The team can use many different types of media - from PDFs to 360 photography - to present the context and encourage meaningful conversations.
5. Use #5 is capturing engagement evidence and demonstrating impact
Being able to demonstrate impact to monitoring officers and funding bodies is essential.
Stickyworld makes it really easy to capture and see all the comments and ideas that have been shared by participants in each online 'room'. It also gives you engagement data including number of views, comments, engaged participants. This data can be downloaded as a PDF report or CSV data files ready for further analysis.
This gives the project team an easy way to capture the evidence they need to highlight engagement. The comments themselves showcase the richness and depth of the conversation to demonstrate impact.
These are five ways Stickyworld's flexible, cloud-based platform makes it easy to put customer-collaboration at the heart of innovation research.
Are you planning a research project and want to build in better customer collaboration from the outset? If you are, we'd love to hear from you.