How common is common sense?

17-11-28 11:31 | About Nordea | The Digital Hub

What if an essential ingredient to organisational competiveness was a no-brainer that’s been sitting right under our noses the whole time?

As work in the digital age becomes less and less predictable, fluid test and learn environments where employees can be both proactive and reactive to customer expectations is essential. So why are banks in particular finding it so hard to nail this? 

As the saying goes: if all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. In many banks, this takes the form of ‘silos and spaghetti’ – where products and services have built up over many years resulting in product silos and a complex mix of processes, systems and data. This, combined with command and control hierarchies, also severely inhibits employees’ ability to engage in the innovative and complex thinking required to develop a competitive advantage. 

Recent research1 conducted by MIT found that organisations can2 double their innovation, achieve 25% greater profitability and most importantly, double customer satisfaction; simply by making it easy for employees to do their job. The research found that simply enabling employees to find each other and collaborate anywhere, at any time with seamless technology that works, significantly improves employee experience3. This includes everyday practical tools like videoconferencing, mobile technology, remote access and social media platforms that make it easy to connect anywhere and at any time. It’s also about providing physical spaces that are inspiring, open, flexible and activity-based. 

Companies that have achieved measurable business transformations like DBS Bank, Deloitte Australia and AUDI consider workplace transformation to be at the heart of their achievements4. So what’s stopping organisations from building HR platforms that don’t require a degree in cryptic thinking, for example, or systems and structures that enable people to connect and collaborate with one click? 

In the banking world, the rush to keep up with emerging technologies, regulations and Fintechs means innovation spend often takes an externally focused, solutions-based approach. But MIT’s research suggests that part of our innovation spend could be better directed into getting our own houses in order. In fact, according to the research, the most competitive companies do not spend significantly more on digital innovation than the least competitive5.  Now, more than ever, banks need their employees to work faster and more collaboratively to achieve rapid innovation. As a sponsor of MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research, Nordea has the opportunity to learn from and learn with some of the world’s leading researchers on new ways of working that foster innovation and competiveness.”

The great news is that we have the technology we need right under our noses to remove some of the speed-bumps that don’t add value, slow us down and make working life unnecessarily complex. In many cases, we just need training and clarity around how to make the most of it.     

Sound like common sense? Maybe common sense isn’t as common as we think.

/Rebecca  Stewart-Serger, expert in communications

  1. Dery and Sebastian Building Business Value with Employee Experience, MIT Sloan Centre for Information Systems Research, 2017.   
  2. Compared to companies in the bottom quartile on employee experience.  
  3. MIT defines employee experience as the work and behavioural norms that influence employees’ ability to create value.  
  4. Dery, Sebastian & van der Meulen, The Digital Workplace is Key to Digital Innovation, June 2017, (16:2), MIS Quarterly Executive, p. 138. 
  5. Fonstad, Designing a Competitive Innovation Portfolio, MIT Sloan Centre for Information Research, 2017.

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