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Collaborative Impact in practice

What does Collaborative Impact look like in practice on Howspace?

By Ilkka Mäkitalo on Aug 9, 2022 10:00:00 AM , updated on Sep 26, 2022

Collaborative impact is all about unlocking the potential of every employee to co-create with colleagues to achieve a meaningful shared goal. At its core, the process relies on an understanding between every participant that they are there for the same reasons and for the best results possible.

Putting change into action and achieving collaborative impact that truly lasts relies on both learning how to take advantage of the tools at hand and being able to identify ways for everyone to be involved in reaching success. Intent is important, but so is the process of getting there.

In building Howspace, we identified five key pillars which support collaborative impact: inclusivity, learning, transparency, human-centricity, and AI power. Many of these pillars are already present in organizations looking to change their ways of working, but with Howspace, you can turbo-charge your approach and bring participants into every aspect of the change process.

Different features of the Howspace platform facilitate these key pillars of collaborative impact in different ways. By combining and applying them with participants, you can activate the potential in both your organization and the platform itself to energize positive change in the way people work together. Let’s have a look at how each pillar of collaborative impact manifests in Howspace.

Inclusivity

Howspace ensures purpose and inclusivity can be experienced in daily work. To start, bringing everyone together and starting a conversation is critical to making sure diverse voices can be taken into account. 

Howspace makes it easy for ideation and brainstorming to get started with the Super Chat widget. This is the bedrock feature for bringing everyone in an organization together for participation—it’s easy to contribute in a social media-style chat, where a person can just post a comment or an image file instead of getting up in front of a room to speak!

Soliciting essential feedback that people might not feel comfortable giving in a crowded room can also be done by making the chat anonymous or setting the widget to showing only a person’s own comments instead of the entire group’s. That way, people can still contribute without feeling pressure.

Super Chats can augment your collaboration beyond text as well with the inclusion of audio or video comments. This style of collaboration works particularly well with asynchronous work, as participants can dip in to add their thoughts as they have them, rather than spending time to formulate a written response. 

Learning

Howspace embeds learning as a priority for organizations that seek to equip their people with the skills to work in increasingly fluid, democratized spaces. When trying to bring about change, it’s important to provide space where employees can continuously check in on progress and learn how to incorporate new ways of working into their daily routines.

One of the best ways to do this from the administrative side is to centralize as much information as possible in one place. Howspace allows you to Embed everything your participants need—from 3rd party tools to your Google Sheets, Miro whiteboards, Calendly schedules, and more—directly into your workspace. We’ve even built a REST API to ease the way for developers to really shape Howspace to their organization’s needs.

Combined with Super Chat, the Embed widget creates opportunities for participants to discuss what they’ve been learning, where those resources can be found, and how they’ve been working those learnings into their personal practices. 

For a more formalized approach to introduce continuous learning to your organization, Howspace allows you to build Assignments and Checkpoints to help participants internalize important concepts or just complete some critical tasks during a change initiative. The Assignment widget is designed for a one-to-one discussion, where you can essentially check in on a participant’s journey and offer coaching. Checkpoints help participants test their knowledge or find supplemental information on key concepts, ensuring that they’re always learning.

Transparency

Howspace empowers leaders to be participative and stay focused on serving employees. Decision- and sense-making is informed by transparent collaboration that is accessible and open to everyone. Similar to the Learning pillar of collaborative impact, ensuring transparency is more than just making information available—transparency must be integrated into daily practice.

We can look at transparency through the decision-making and sense-making lenses, since both lend different perspectives to the concept. When it comes to decision-making, Howspace provides avenues for involving all stakeholders in the process. For example, the Poll widget allows you as a facilitator to directly invite participants to (anonymously) vote on given options with results being immediately available to everybody in the workspace. You can go further than a simple Poll and build out an entire decision-making process in Howspace, complete with awarding points to “sticky notes” in Super Chats or encouraging hackathon-style prototype submissions through the File Share widget.

Howspace facilitates transparent sense-making through features like our AI (which we’ll explain in further detail below) and the Pulse widget. Collaborative impact takes place over time, and so does sense-making. The Pulse widget allows you to track how participants feel about certain topics and questions over time in a simple line graph.

Human-centricity

Howspace brings human centricity to business and systems transformation by helping organizations embrace a learn-and-adapt ethos. With an increasingly hybridized workforce, we need to adjust our ways of working together while still keeping employee happiness and productivity at the forefront of decisions.

Effective collaboration relies on participants feeling comfortable and connected to one another. Understanding what we can expect from each other, how we can support one another, and why we’re working together in the first place all go into creating a sense of belonging that fuels collaborative impact, and Howspace’s People widget can help get a jump-start on that “getting to know you” process. Administrators can set up participant profiles with custom fields, such as “organization role” or “personal interests”, then use the People widget to match participants based on those fields and introduce them to each other accordingly. On a larger scale, this matchmaking functionality can be great for networking or onboarding new employees into a big organization, helping them feel like part of the team more quickly.

Powered by AI

Howspace’s AI makes sense- and decision-making richer. Our AI is semantic, contextual and multilingual, easily avoids bias, and objectively analyzes large amounts of qualitative data. When dealing with big organizations and dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of participants, having a clever AI in your back pocket can be a massive time-saver when it comes to understanding what your workspace participants are talking about.

In combination with the Super Chat widget, Howspace AI helps facilitate deeper discussion and more accurate decision-making on topics that participants care about most. Our AI has four different functionalities: word clouds, theme clusters, summaries, and sentiment analyses, all of which can be applied to the same Super Chat with different results.

Word Clouds are the perfect way of visualizing the topics that occur most often in a conversation. The bigger the word, the more often it pops up, and that's worth investigating further. On a higher level, theme clusters allow the most recurring concepts in a Super Chat to be identified and then used to engage participants in deeper conversations. Summaries distill the essence of a conversation from multiple comments, long or short, into a single sentence. Lastly, sentiment analyses pick out how people feel throughout a dialogue, using positive and negative connotations of words and phrases to gauge where people fall on a given topic. All of these functionalities can be displayed in full in your workspace, allowing participants to see how their comments make an impact on discussions.

All of these aspects of the Howspace AI are designed to fuel more introspection and decisions that are more accurate to what workspace participants are actually talking about. With that knowledge, you can better steer collaborative conversations and integrate everyone’s voices into final decisions.

Conclusion

Collaborative Impact in action allows for people to meaningfully come together around a shared purpose. Every feature on the Howspace platform has been designed with that guiding principle in mind: how can even the smallest detail in a function help you make the impact you want together with your people? Taking advantage of Howspace’s various features in creative ways can unlock some truly transformative moments for everyone in an organization.

We’ve gone over only a few of Howspace’s features and their capabilities when it comes to Collaborative impact across the board. However, collaborative impact can look completely different depending on your business context. We see the collaborative impact model manifesting in four critical categories: leadership, engagement, strategic programs, and learning.

In the coming months, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into each of these categories. We’ll examine how businesses can radically reboot their ways of working for a more collaborative approach and what we think needs reshaping in organizations to achieve more meaningful impact. We believe that Howspace is the platform to achieve a new future of work that is social, collaborative, and inclusive, and we’re excited to explore that future with you!

Curious to learn more about the current state of collaboration? We conducted a multicountry, cross-sector deep dive to identify what workers want and need to be more engaged and prepared for the future of work. You can download the full report here.


Are you interested in understanding the state of collaboration within your organisation? Find out more here or book a free, 1-on-1 consultation with us.

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