Australian industry members co-create their vision for the future.

How a national industry body used Synthetron to engage their members to set a vision for their industry & assess the support they needed in navigating COVID19.

 

Situation

The client and their needs
Our client was a peak national industry body. In partnership with their eight state and territory associations, they wanted to engage their members in a conversation about their industry’s future and to better understand the optimal service offerings and governance framework their members wanted.

The industry and its character
The members of the national and state industry associations are from the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors, and vary considerably in terms of their governance arrangements, size and needs.

The task
The client asked Synthetron to engage their members in a conversation about the future of the industry, the value they placed on the services provided by the industry association, and what they wanted to see from their associations in the future.

 

Pause and think about this… 134 member organisations engaged in a conversation that yielded 1503 ideas and 745 agreements, and all in only 60 minutes.

 

Approach

The questions explored during the Synthetron conversation

  • What services provided by the national and state/territory associations have been helpful in dealing with the pandemic?
  • What support is required as we move out of isolation?
  • What is your vision or ideas for our industry over the next five years?
  • What does success look like for your organisation?
  • Which of our services do you consider essential and which do you not consider essential?
  • How do you think these services should be paid for or funded?
  • What is the key message you’d like to share?

Results

The outcome – Key Agreements 

  • Vision A high level of agreement was reached by members for eight key ideas that could be broadly grouped into two themes – industry reputation, and accessibility and quality of services.
  • Definition of Success A high level of agreement was reached by members for 15 key ideas that could be broadly grouped into several themes – transitioning out of COVID, customer relationship management, service affordability for customers, industry profitability, industry governance, and industry reputation.
  • Key messagesMembers believed that the national and state associations needed to rationalise their respective roles, review their membership and fee structure, and explore opportunities to be more creative and member-orientated.

The outcome – The character of the Agreements
This particular Synthetron session revealed that:

  • The level of member agreement was strongest when discussing the vision for the industry
  • The level of member agreement was weaker when discussing how to fund services, and
  • The most number of agreements were reached when discussing the services members want and what success looks like

The power of insight

Synthetron is powerful in its capacity to virtually engage large numbers of participants, explore a large numbers of ideas, and distil the areas of agreement and disagreement in a short amount of time. And the resulting “data feast” enables clients to drill down and analyse what participants said by any number of demographic variables.

The analytical capability that Synthetron offers clients makes the platform unique and powerful. In this instance, Synthetron was able to provide a deep dive analysis of the data for the client by industry sector (six variables), jurisdiction (eight variables), size of member (five variables) or any combination of the resulting hundreds of ways of drilling down to compare and contrast what members with different characteristics said.

This yielded the client with deep and valuable insights. For example, in relation to the proposal for industry association services to be funded on a user-pays model, there was a divergence of opinion between large and small members and between jurisdictions.

Such analytical capability enabled the industry association to really understand what their members thought and where agreement converged and diverged.

Synthetron’s support on the project:

What we did

  • Designed the engagement strategy in partnership with the client.
  • Designed and sent out invitations to industry members to join the conversation.
  • Managed registration for the conversation.
  • Designed the conversation script for the Synthetron discussion in consultation with the client.
  • Moderated the Synthetron conversation with the nine national and state industry bodies watching the conversation evolve in real time.
  • Produced a 17-page  report for the client on key outcomes and findings inside three days.
  • Produced a deep-dive 103-page analysis for the client exploring members’ perspectives by member size, jurisdiction, and industry sector.

 

 

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organisation?

 

Stakeholder conference turned virtual at a Dutch bank.

How a cooperative bank used Synthetron as a tool to change a physical conference into a truly interactive virtual conference for all stakeholders.

Situation

Rabobank (a Dutch cooperative Bank) has a strong ambition to contribute to sustainable development. This is explicitly formulated in the mission of the bank: ’Growing a Better World Together’. As such, they had planned a half-day dialogue event gathering a variety of stakeholders ranging from governmental institutions, NGOs, academia, and business. The purpose of the conference was to do collective research about sustainability and to connect the participants, allowing them to gather insights and for Rabobank to adapt their policy choices accordingly.

However, we were at the start of 2020 and it wasn’t long before Covid-19 made it impossible for the organisers to go on with their planned physical conference. Instead of cancelling the event, it was decided to simply replace the already planned conference and bringing it from physical to virtual.

They approached our Synthetron consultants, with whom they decided to translate the 3 hour physical conference into a 2 hour online event mixing Teams Live Event (a Microsoft videoconference tool) with Synthetron (an online dialogue tool).

The agenda for the event had to be changed and simplified but, with the help of our consultants, the bank managed to create an online dialogue event that provided an alternative that brought rich and substantive input. 

Rabobank Online conference on sustainability

Approach

To make everyone feel at ease with the whole process and be ready for the day itself, the Synthetron consultants organised dry-runs with the client. Making sure that the organisers were comfortable to organise this online dialogue event. Details like; how to start and end the session, what to say, and making sure that the whole process was a bit more personal and pleasant for the participants was something Rabobank brought in by introducing a Synthetron moderator during the session.

The whole process was co-designed by the Synthetron consultants and the client. Here is what the process looked like;

  • First (30 minutes in Teams Live Event): Introduction by the bank’s CEO and with the chairman of the event.
  • Second (1 hour in Synthetron): The structure of the online dialogue was based on the Rabo AI-dialogue method and transformed into the script for the Synthetron session. This included around 5 phases during which questions related to sustainability and banking where asked to the participants. Every single person was able to give their inputs and opinions as well as rank and react on those of others.
  • While the online dialogue was going on, on the moderator side, our consultants could help the client analyse different dynamics, opinions that stood out, and important topics to follow-up on. Based on what was coming out of the dialogue, the client could choose to go further on a topic and decide to adjust the script a bit, during the session itself.
  • Third (30 minutes in Teams Live Event): A panel with the chairman and a member of the managing board and advisor of the Rabobank Dialogue Expertise centre, looked back at what came out of the dialogue and concluded the event.

 

Results

The participants to the virtual event were very pleased that the event could continue despite Covid-19 and enjoyed using a software to do that (Synthetron).

As for our client, they were able to gather new insights and suggestions from different stakeholders around sustainability. This will help them in their new policy choices on the topic, as they want to fulfill an important role in the development of sustainability practices in business.

During the uncertain times at the beginning of the corona crisis and the restrictions on public gathering, some organisations chose to cancel their events and conferences planned in 2020. Others, like Rabobank, decided to keep going, to be pro-active and find an alternative solution for their physical conference. Organisations don’t stop in times of crisis, they adapt. In this case, Synthetron was there to provide an effective alternative solution to share and collect insights with stakeholders.

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organisation?

 

Keeping a genuine contact with employees during Covid-19’s home-working period.

Virtual meeting Synthetron Webex

How adding Synthetron’s e-dialogue to a videoconference of 60 managers allowed new director to keep a finger on the pulse.

Situation

It was Covid-19 times. Organisations could not have real, physical contact with their own people anymore. The question was, how to keep a genuine contact with your employees if it is all virtual? How do we keep our employees engaged and listened to?

To add to these difficulties of social distancing requirements, the Dutch Ministry of Justice had just been appointed a new Secretary-General before the crisis and he was looking for a way to get in touch with his big new team in a meaningful manner.

Quote + session image Secretary General Ministry Justice Virtual Meeting Synthetron

Approach

The new Secretary-General wanted to know how everyone was doing under these circumstances. In order to do that, he decided to use Synthetron and host a session to hear how his people were really doing working from home, as well as introducing new managers.

The process of feedback and receiving relevant input from his team was very important to the Secretary-General but unfortunately, traditional videoconferencing tools don’t let you do that easily. So, the solution here was to use Webex (a videoconferencing tool) to let the top managers make a presentation and then use Synthetron to get real feedback from everyone, live.

The managers could then immediately come back to what had come up during the feedback discussion on Synthetron and conclude by using Webex again. The whole process took 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Results

The Secretary-General and his team got important insights from their managers. Insights about how they were handling this new working-from-home situation. What was working well, what was not working so well. Most importantly, they heard about how their managers were coping with this new situation and how they could be supported in the next weeks.

Participants to this ‘enhanced’ videoconference had only positive reactions to it. So much so that the Secretary-General and his team were convinced to continue using Synthetron for their future videoconferences. A few weeks later using the Webex-Synthetron combination and turning it into a powerful tool for innovation.

People felt involved, felt connected to their organisation. It was a way for them to keep in touch. To create this feeling of community. Everyone working together, but separate. They were happy to try a new way of doing virtual meetings. This was not just superficial, like video calls can sometimes be, it was about sharing real content and ideas with each other. The virtual way…

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organization?

Innovation during virtual times at the Dutch Ministry of Justice

How an interactive virtual meeting with 150 managers made innovating in times of crisis possible for the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

Situation

One need that the Corona crisis of 2020 accentuated was a need to innovate. Organisations were doing that before already, but this crisis forced them to innovate double as fast as and adapt to these changing circumstances, as day-to-day practices evolved because of homeworking.

The challenge then, for most companies, was to find a way to move forward with innovation while being unable to meet physically and host big innovation sessions with their different teams…

One organisation found a way to innovate effectively with their virtual teams. The Dutch Ministry of Justice had already leveraged Synthetron for the first time at the beginning of the Corona crisis to get in touch and connect with their people suddenly isolated and working from home. After being very pleased with the results and dynamic it had created in their teams, they used it again and turned it into a powerful tool for virtual innovation.

Their different departments had adopted new ways of working with their teams, had tried and tested different practices and it was time to now put the different departments together for them to learn from each other and implement, as an organisation, efficient new ways of working.

It all came together nicely for the organisation. They had been working already on a leadership program and a change program when the Corona times hit. At this point, they found it important to share experiences around innovation with their top managers to be able to learn quickly from each other in an open setting.

Covid 19 Virtual Meeting

Approach

Innovation was the most important objective. There was a clear need to innovate and share ideas that could immediately be adopted and implemented by the managers. In order to achieve that, it was decided to organise a virtual meeting with all the managers from all the departments and combine Synthetron (the discussion and co-creation part) with Webex (to introduce, present and conclude the meeting).

The meeting was divided into 3 cycles, one per presented innovation initiative. All cycles were built as follows;

  • First, the team of 150 managers used Webex (a videoconferencing tool) so the entire group could listen to the manager who presented the initiative. He presented and explained his new practices and what he had learned. (5 min)
  • Second, the different departments met using Synthetron to discuss and see if they could adopt certain practices in their own processes. Every department could discuss about; “Could we do the same in our processes? Would it work for us as well?” (10 min)
  • Third, Webex was used again for the organisers to immediately react and conclude on what had come out of the virtual discussions and what, based on these findings, the next steps would be. (5 min)

This cycle was repeated 3 times and followed by a general conclusion to the meeting.

Results

Many ideas have come out of it. It was a big step forward for identifying ways to improving processes across the various departments, and this in just over an hour!

The biggest added value for the organisation was that Synthetron makes it possible for the them to use a videoconference tool like Webex alongside our e-dialogue platform. This allows to start with a “one-to-many” format, then swiftly enter into separate conversations in the “many-to-many” format to go deeper, share innovations and learn from all participants.

The most well-known videoconferencing tools like Zoom and Webex just don’t have a good functionality when it comes to allowing people sitting behind their computer, usually taking a passive role, to take a pro-active role by sharing and ranking their insights and opinions with those of others. By adding Synthetron to the mix, the organisers could let everyone speak, react, debate and find out relevant insights that, after just one hour, they could put forward and react on with Webex before concluding with concrete next steps.

The Synthetron consultant working on this case concluded: “Without our tool, all you can do is get a person to give a long presentation after which you might be able to get a few people to respond, but it usually doesn’t go above 10 people. It is really more of a ‘one man show’ or a ‘few people show’. It remains limited when it comes to sharing and discussing topics. Which is essential to any innovation process.

By combining Synthetron with their videoconferencing tool, the Dutch Ministry could turn two different tools into something new and powerful. Into a real tool for virtual innovation with big teams.

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organization?

 

 

 

To download this case as a brochure, click the following link:

Case: improving employee satisfaction

How a big university hospital used Synthetron to improve employee satisfaction.

Situation


Every three years one of the biggest University Hospitals in the Netherlands held traditional employee satisfaction surveys. However, they noticed that these surveys were encountering some problems.

Therefore the (then) Director of HR went looking for a new and innovative way to engage the employees and improve employee satisfaction.

Approach


Synthetron offered a way to engage teams directly, on their level, and offer them an open way to voice their opinions on what is going well, what isn’t, and what solutions they see. They were offered a safe space to talk anonymously. All of this could be done from a location of their choosing, they only needed a laptop or a tablet.

In three years time around 150 teams got the possibility to let their opinions be known. They wrote over 23.000 messages and came up with solutions tailor made for their own team. All sections of the hospital participated, from the medical- to the kitchen staff.

Synthetron developed the script for these dialogues and moderated the sessions together with an adviser from the HR department. The participants also filled in 9 closed questions. These questions enabled the hospital to compare the results to previous ones.

Synthetron worked closely together with dedicated staff from the hospital. Always keeping in contact and tweaking the script and approach when needed.

Results


The team management, sector head, and HR representative of the team all got a copy of the report within a week after a team dialogue. This report included some statistics for benchmarks and all the most supported statements by participants (so called synthetrons).

Every sector of the hospital got it’s own consolidated report. This included thorough analysis of the results of the sector and benchmarks towards earlier years.

The Synthetron consultants also provided the hospital with an end report which included all the things that were going really well, and all the things that could be improved. Lastly, the hospital was provided with suggestions by Synthetron consultants on how to continue.

Click “download file” for more detailed information.

Case: digging into disappointing employee survey results

How a FMCG crowdsourced solutions using Synthetron online dialogues following disappointing survey results on retention and work life balance.

 

“This exceeded our expectations, and those were high.”

— Senior board member

 

Situation

A multinational consumer goods company board member was surprised to see – despite overall good results – some very low work-life balance and retention scores in his business unit (BU).

Management did not have instant answers for the disappointing survey results.  They also lacked insight into what potential actions would work to turn these scores around.

They wanted to dig deeper into the survey results by engaging employees in a different way.

 

Approach

Together with representatives of the company,.Synthetron developed the questions for an online dialogue to better understand the low work-life balance and retention scores.

The entire BU was invited to spend 1 hour of its monthly “all in office” day to join a Synthetron session about work-life balance and retention.

Top management observed the discussion in a separate room. In this way, they experienced the authentic feedback and could sense the energy of the conversation.

Results

On the day of the discussion, the entire BU felt lots of energy and excitement. Some difficult topics were on the table, and solutions were now clearly articulated.

Within two weeks, Synthetron presented the results to the management and two weeks later to all participants. The results provided insight into what the different issues were. Motivators and de-motivators were itemized. 4 actionable improvement areas with specific suggestions for implementation were presented.

In addition, a mindset analysis made the management aware of how important it was for them to act.  The mindset analysis also explained how management could best communicate about some of the very sensitive issues.

The BU management took action on the practical solutions suggested.  They also addressed the sensitive issues very openly. This created instant good will and a significant increase in employees’ survey scores the next year.

Case: addressing disappointing HR survey results

Synthetron online dialogues. Home. Moving forward. Together

How a multinational organization used Synthetron’s crowdsourcing method to address disappointing HR survey results.

Situation

The annual internal employee satisfaction survey produced disappointing results for “leadership” and “trust” measures.

Management discussion led to the idea that by reorganising the organisation, most of these issues would be solved. However, they wanted to hear from the floor if this was really the case.

What really matters to the employees?

Approach

Synthetron held a series of 8 Synthetron discussions segmented by management level and business unit/country.

In the discussions participants were first asked the same poll question as in the survey for calibration, followed by a discussion of why to identify root causes.

Next, the focus was on identifying the solutions and Key Success Factors. During the discussion, the hypothesis of re-organisation was tested.

Discovery

Synthetron identified a surprising set of root-causes. The main root cause was the decision making process in the organisation. In none of the discussions did the participants confirm that reorganisation was the way forward. 4 actions surfaced repeatedly as higher synthetrons (broadly supported statements) in all the discussions.

The report gave management insights into what actions would have most impact and which were perceived less important.

Management shared the report openly with the participants and held a set of global web meetings to share what actions were identified through the Synthetron session.

In the end, no reorganisation took place. Rather, the decision process was streamlined and a campaign to strengthen empowerment was launched.

The following year’s survey showed significant better results on trust and leadership.

Case: team building for the new CEO

Synthetron online dialogues. Home. Moving forward. Together

How the CEO of a small charity used Synthetron to understand the real story of why things weren’t working.

Situation

As new CEO, he was struggling with team building. He needed to find out what was really going on. Who’d have thought that such a small charity would have such complex personal dynamics? In their large open plan office it was proving hard to get to the bottom of what anybody thought.

He was keen to improve the effectiveness of the organisation, increase its impact and demonstrate how he could add value to a cause he really believed in. But first he had to understand the real story of why things weren’t working.

Approach

A donation in kind had given him access to a Synthetron dialogue. He decided to invite everybody from the London office plus some of the regional managers who dealt with volunteers and partner organisations.

The topic was simple – what is working and what’s not. Synthetron helped craft the questions that would give him the answers he needed and he watched the session closely. “Maybe you don’t need to do a report” he ventured afterwards, “Since I saw everything already.”

But the Synthetron consultant suggested doing it anyway to look at what was going on below the surface. Not just WHAT people were talking about but also HOW. Understanding the team building dynamics, their motivations and sources of resistance.

Discovery

The most surprising discovery was the crisis of confidence inside the organisation. He knew there had been some bumps in the road under the previous leadership but he hadn’t realised how deep it ran for employees. No wonder they were struggling to convince partners to get on board if they felt so unsure of the mission and vision of the charity.

He was happy to get such a clear steer on the problem blocking team building, and on how they wanted to address it.

He set up small action teams straight away to address the issues of what they offered partners and the materials and prospect lists that people needed to get cracking. Let’s move from shy and uncertain to clear and confident he declared.

Case: involving staff on strategy globally

How an international NGO involved its staff on global scale to shape its new strategy.

Situation


This international NGO was one of the biggest. The winds of change were blowing through the organisation. Therefore, it wanted to update its strategy. Old, defunct processes were swept away and new questions were being asked of everybody.

The changes were refreshing but also felt a bit unstable. There were some murmurings out in the field as people wondered about the new direction. What was it? Did they agree with it? Did they want to stay?

Then in an unprecedented move the Head of Strategy decided to involve everybody. So they could give input into the new strategy for the next 20 years. However they had staff in 80 countries and no shared language. Hence they thought it would take forever. How could they make sure everybody had a fair chance to express themselves? How could they turn all that raw data into meaningful and robust recommendations?

Approach


We set up several Synthetron online dialogue sessions in parallel to be able to involve staff across time zones and languages.

We moderated the dialogues and made sure that everyone got the chance to get involved.

In an unprecedented move for inclusion, every single staff member was invited to participate. Hundreds of people inputted thousands of statements and generated a million data points.

Discovery


After careful analysis the Synthetron consultant was able to give them a single image summing up the story. As well as clear direction on the updated mission and strategy.

Then the board wanted to find out if office staff were over-represented. So Synthetron did a segmented analysis looking only at field staff which confirmed only the most minimal differences of opinion.

The strategy team then incorporated the discoveries into their decision making, confident that their thousands of committed employees were aligned with the new plan.

 

 

Case: fair play and diversity

How Synthetron was used to make progress on Inclusion and Diversity.

Situation

Now that she was in the second week of the job as Inclusion and Diversity manager she was beginning to realise just how hard it was going to be to make this work. Not only was there a split at board level between those who understood the importance of this and those who thought it quite unnecessary, but it was also proving difficult to find out what people really thought.

She’d seen those meetings where nobody dared speak up, or they all hid behind political correctness. She wanted to get to the real story so she could see how to move forward.

Then she heard how they’d used a platform called Synthetron in another part of the business and decided to investigate if it could help her too.

Approach

Synthetron set up 10 online discussions with more than 500 people in the organization.

Next, we developed the questions and script together with the client.

Lastly, we moderated the dialogue together with representatives of the organization.

Discovery

Two months and ten discussions later the story unfolded before her. Based on what real people in the organisation – over 500 of them – really thought. What they shared about their experiences and when they knew they could do that safely.

There was a lot of work to do but she had a much clearer sense of where they stood. And what the Inclusion & Diversity journey was going to look like.

She had discovered some hazards to be avoided and some great ideas to be spread across the organisation. A surprising insight had been that fairness was something everybody agreed with. It meant much more to everybody than I&D and avoided a lot of the pushback she had seen in some of the conversations.

She had a term that provided a good frame to move forward with. Furthermore it was a way of measuring progress thanks to the classification data of everyone who participated according to how aware, willing and able they were of the issues at stake.

See how we can help you with our Synthetron I&D+ tool.

Articles on Inclusion & Diversity

  • Sallie Crawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, considers why we still expect women to behave like men and think that is diversity. LinkedIn article
  • Greg Ward, MD of Transguard group explains why it’s just not that hard to have a diverse workplace. LinkedIn article

Case: leadership meeting needs an agenda

How a large multinational used Synthetron to focus the agenda for a top leadership meeting.

Situation

A large multinational was planning the agenda for its Top 100 Leadership meeting. They did this every two years.

This time they wanted to discuss how to implement the new strategy. Head Office had created it and they wanted to see it in action.

Approach

Prior to the meeting the team used Synthetron to work out where to focus the agenda. They wanted to discover which aspects of the strategy were most important.

Before developing the script, Synthetron consultants asked if the strategy was well known and accepted. Although the answer was yes, the script allowed for both scenarios. All of the meeting participants were invited to join in the discussion to help shape the agenda.

Discovery

In fact the discussion highlighted a lot of confusion. This was true at various levels. Many people were not aware of the strategy and few understood it.

Leadership discovered the trouble spots and could start to tackle them. Knowing the Hot Topics for the meeting meant the meeting planners could give them the priority the meeting attendees were looking for.

They fine-tuned the agenda and focused on what would generate energy and engagement. In the end they could all move forward. Together.

Case: getting everyone for the new strategy

How a major electronics manufacturer used Synthetron to engage employees on a new strategy.

Situation

A major electronics manufacturer was about to have a significant new strategy launch. They wanted to engage employees to bring it to life in the organisation. But it’s not always easy to create a fair way for everybody to have their say.

Traditional cascade systems and town hall meetings can mean many people aren’t heard. So they decided to use Synthetron instead. To make sure that everyone’s voice was equal, and no matter where they were they would get the opportunity to participate.

Approach

We organized 3 Synthetron online dialogue sessions on the same day with a total of 600 employees.

For each session, employees listened first to a webinar explaining the ideas. Then they had their online discussion.

After this session, the CEO came back online to thank them for their participation and tell them when to expect feedback.

In total, more than 2500 comments were gathered through the Synthetron dialogue.

Synthetron consultants were invovled in the development of the script and the moderation of the sessions. To ensure that everything would go smoothly and the script would touch upon the right subjects.

Discovery

Synthetron analysed all the sessions afterwards to deliver key conclusions on employees’ hesitations and accelerators to the client.

The Synthetron sessions identified practical aspects of the strategy that were important to employees on the factory floor or in the distribution chain. Gathering these points of view built engagement as well as provided valuable data.

This enabled the management to adapt the strategy and set targets which they knew were supported by staff.