3 levels of digital collaboration in COVID-19 times

With people being confined at home, cravings for connection, communication and information are bigger than ever. During this time of physical distance, there is a strong reliance on technology for anyone to survive in these uncharted waters.

The same goes for businesses, as brands and marketers are challenged to keep the connection in place not only with consumers, but also with colleagues and other stakeholders. Going digital is no longer optional; in order to survive and perhaps even thrive in these uncertain times, people and brands need to keep in touch. In the context of digital collaboration, it is crucial that brands keep the connection in place with consumers, employees and even creatives.

Consumer Collaboration

Being forced into ‘lockdown’, people are reshaping their lives with digital aperitives (or ‘e-peritives’), online workouts and virtual family gatherings as an answer to emerging frictions and needs. Brands need to keep a finger on the pulse, now more than ever, to understand the changing consumer context and its impact on consumer behavior.

How can brands stay relevant when needs, wants and behaviors are changing drastically? Beyond retaining connections, digital collaboration allows a complete immersion in the consumer reality, identifying upcoming needs and frictions, and fueling consumer-centric thinking. This is when solutions like online interviews, digital focus groups and insight communities come into play. Insight communities (such as our proprietary Consumer Consulting Square), for example, allow brands and people to connect across boundaries of time and space, with a multitude of ethnographic activities and tools supporting a true immersion in the consumer reality. The versatility of online communities gives brands a holistic view of the consumer context.

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Employee Collaboration

While the majority of the workforce is working from home – bye bye office desk, hello kitchen table – the need to stay connected with colleagues and business stakeholders is more important than ever. How do we tackle internal collaboration and knowledge sharing today, when workshops, brainstorms, meetings and face-to-face discussions are limited?

In recent weeks, digital collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have been widely adopted to help employees conduct everyday business through online meetings, desktop sharing, and video conferencing. However, when it comes to being agile in today’s reality and allowing fast action to emerging consumer needs, we might need to take things one step further. Our Insight Activation Studio, for example, empowers internal stakeholders to share research take-aways and consumer inspiration, and accommodates the co-creation of new ideas and concepts. Moreover, our digital workshops spark creative exercises, team brainstorms and impactful results-sharing.

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Creative Collaboration

Today’s highly volatile business environment highlights the need for creativity in preparation for tomorrow.

However, unlocking creativity within an organization comes with many challenges, as only 1% of people have the creative skill to think out of the box and craft new content. The probability that members of business innovation teams fall within that 1% is extremely low. The key to success therefore lies in sourcing the right people for the right ideas.

Creative crowdsourcing solutions, such as our proprietary eÿeka network, help bridge the creativity gap by onboarding the fresh thinking of a select group of individuals, creators. By submitting their ideas into online Global Ideation Contests, these creators solve brand challenges ranging from product and service innovation to communication campaigns or packaging innovation, and thereby help them shape the future!

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In all of this uncertainty, one thing remains unchanged: the need for connection and collaboration is as important as ever. Whilst being challenging, the current shift towards digital provides opportunities to rethink stakeholder collaboration today, tomorrow and even the day after.

To help brands navigate through these fickle times, we’ve created a dedicated COVID-19 online community approach. Intrigued? Get in touch and we’d be happy to start the conversation and listen to your challenges!

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Contact

Tom De Ruyck
Thoughtleader Future of Research
Managing Partner

Contact Tom