Frustration as a source of innovation


Frustration as a source of innovation

Now that we worked remotely for months, it suddenly becomes apparent how inefficient - and exhausting - some processes actually are. Is there another way?

Kim Spinder helps organisations to innovate and shares a number of practical tips. "If you run into something every day, you are extra motivated to tackle it."

Kim Spinder: “Before the corona crisis, most large companies already had their digitization largely in order. When we all suddenly had to stay at home in March, it was often not a very big problem from a practical point of view: people were able to quickly find each other remotely via email, WhatsApp, Zoom and other applications. Companies moved their meetings online and continued where they left off in the office.

Now, more than seven months later it is clear that this situation will not change anytime soon. What is also clear is that it does not work to copy the old, offline way of working to online one-on-one. There is still a lot to improve in that area. ”


According to Spinder it is a standard first step in trying new things: mimicking the old situation. “Just think of the very first websites: they looked like brochures. You could often also download the text on the website as a Word document. And the first companies on Twitter posted their full press releases. Only later did a new, more efficient way of conveying information emerge. ”

Spinder also saw this copying happening at companies that are forced to continue their work processes online this spring. “You usually have a two-hour meeting every Monday? Then you will now spend two hours together on Google Meet. Giving a presentation to a full house? Then now the same presentation takes place via Zoom. But, it just doesn't work that way. A person is not made for this way of working. A day full of appointments at the office was tiring already, but a whole day in Zoom meetings is really killing for your motivation, your productivity and your job satisfaction.”

Start pioneering

Spinder advises companies to experiment as much as possible with other forms of (digital) collaboration. “Instead of meeting for two hours a week about a project while it is not really getting off the ground, you can also opt for an online sprint of four consecutive days. During those four days you tackle a problem together with your team. You come up with solutions together, test it immediately with the customer and then develop right away. That is how you really succeed.”

Employees can best indicate which issues lend themselves to such a sprint, says Spinder. “They carry out those processes continuously. If you run into something every day, you are extra motivated to tackle it. Frustration is a great source of innovation. Give employees the time and space to try new things themselves, for example a daypart per week. It gives a huge boost when people can pioneer with a small team under the radar - after all, nobody sees you now. This is a perfect time for that. The threshold to experiment is now much lower than before because we had to change so many of our routines already.”

Be creative

Spinder advises companies to also investigate how they can innovate on a personal level. “Working from home has advantages and disadvantages. Organize a brainstorm with employees and ask them the question: how do you experience working from home? What is going well, what could be improved? What do you need to get the best out of yourself in these circumstances? Draw up five points that everyone adheres to. And don't do that brainstorm in the old way where everyone can have their say, one after the other, because then you will be another - exhausting - hour further and you still have nothing. Rather, use a tool like Miro, Nureva or Mural, online whiteboards on which anyone can stick digital post-its. Make it fun, be creative!”

A good example of innovation that Spinder recently encountered is a company that introduced new employees to the organisation online. “Not by having an online session with the standard introductory talk, but by giving them a bingo card with ten assignments that they had to tick off as soon as possible. Call that colleague and tell him/her a good joke, send a photo of your workplace to that colleague, ask that colleague about a certain procedure, and so on. A wonderful way to make personal contact even from a distance.”

No meetings, please

And for those who have had enough of all that digital communication, Spinder has another tip: plan a meeting-free day with your team, perhaps every week. “Being able to work undisturbed and really focus is good for your productivity and your creativity. Who knows what innovative (online) insights you will gain if you go completely offline for a while. ”

On Thursday October 29th, RTL Z and Deloitte organized an online seminar on this subject, Kim Spinder was one of the experts present. Click here for the recording of the seminar. Please note the online seminar is in Dutch.

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