Agility – not just a buzzword

Agility – not just a buzzword

by Klaus-Michael Erben

Based on learnings using crowd intelligence in two separate dialogues on January 28th and April 14th 2015, we derived five lessons in connection with eight imperatives to reflect upon how to improve on agility. With few exceptions the need for agility is mostly anchored in external effects (market, technologies) and less in internal factors. Almost everybody sees agility as important or critical. But, while most acknowledge a gap from best practice, they argue whether agility should be part of their personal performance evaluation.

These five recommendations emerged:

  1. Become more agile by creating strategies built around extensive listening
    to the customer and the market, which proactively reflect digital trends
  2. Create an entrepreneurial organisational culture relying on trust, involvement, flexibility, risk taking, a bias for action and ongoing learning from mistakes
  3. Watch out for key blockers – top dogs afraid of new ways of working and excessive internal complexity
  4. Add value through an operational approach with agility-related KPI’s for areas like meetings, reports or protocols designed for agility, the provision of open spaces for innovative thinking, and fostering open feedback for learning
  5. Encourage management to cross hierarchical boundaries, using engagement opportunities and learning curricula, to improve agility.

Eight top tips: must-haves from the dialogues:

  1. Agility to respond appropriately
  2. People from different backgrounds to broaden thinking
  3. Engagement, empowerment and collaboration
  4. Give people the right to make mistakes, to speak-up about red lights or cxontroversial issues and to experiment in new ways of working
  5. Put the decision power in the team, not at the top.
  6. Ensure meetings, protocols and reports have clear added value – or drop them
  7. Balance ‘lean working‘ with soace for innovation
  8. Resist old ways of working. Initiating change helps to improve agility.

Download the full report here


by Klaus Michael Erben


Crowdsourcing is changing possibilities

Crowdsourcing is changing possibilities

by Joanne Celens – CEO

Synthetron CEO Joanne Celens presented at the global Crowd Source Weekly conference in Singapore and brings back two important insights on organisational evolution and global speed.

The conference which focused on 3 themes: crowdsourcing for corporations, crowdsourcing to leverage the social economy and crowdfunding.


“An important new insight for me is picture of evolution of organisation formats by Reinaldo Pamponet shown here” she explains. “From centralised,then decentralised  to a networked designed organisation is what fuels the crowd economy. These network organisations are more resilient, more adaptable and faster because of the distributed information and decision capacity of the network. The crowd evolves from spectators to connected, and finally to protagonists. The new companies like Airb’n’b uber etc access resources through this model. Exponential growth and crowd distributed activities become possible but applying it in corporate environment is a real challenge.”

structural change

The second major insight is the scale, stories and speed by which digitalisation allows crowdsourced solutions to pop up all over the world. California is no longer the epicentre – great innovative stuff is happening simultaneously in many cultures – in fact some less developed markets are better at leapfrog solutions because they have less to protect. This trend brings energy, buzz, highly diverse movements, crazy and wonderful ideas as illustrated by these highlights:

  • MOOC’s online university courses have 12 million students per annum (compared to around 20k at say Harvard or Cambridge)
  • Rappler, a Philippine online newspaper/media developed a way to get complete info in the case of natural disasters like hurricanes by combining different layers of maps with data from twitter, army drones, instagram, google maps and digital humanitarians (people anywhere in the world who want to help and classify data by eg infrastructure problems, health, food or criminal problems. Artificial Intelligence learns from their tagged data and then seamlessly updates the map based on pictures assembled real time.
  • Civico crowdsourced a whole city map of Lima with the help of youngsters in a couple of months.
  • Brands use crowdsourcing mostly in marketing area for ideas and videos


Lastly Joanne shared the example of bitcoin: “I finally understand what is the real value of bitcoin…   not so much the value or coin, but rather the blockchain technology that works in a peer to peer network like the third picture above. It is a kind of fraud proof general ledger 3.0 – maybe as revolutionary as the invention of double entry bookkeeping.

The next Crowd Source Weekly Europe conference is in Brussels on 19-23 October this year

by Joanne Celens

The value of Positive Behaviour

get ahead with a cropwdsourced approach to Inclusion and diversity

The value of Positive Behaviour

On August 11th, a Synthetron session was held together with Sequoia, our partners in Singapore and their partners Anima Convivência Produtiva, High Peaks Group and Real world group.
The session was held on the value of positive behaviour, moreover the effects it can have on workplace behaviour.
The synthetron study was part of a larger study into the value of positive behaviour. Here are some of the results:

A regionally well-spread group of 59 corporate leaders participated in the one-hour crowdsourcing session on theme of Value of Positive Behavior (“VPB”). Participants were consultants, executives and leaders from the private and public sectors.

Positive behavior is defined as the actions that create a positive working environment and/or enabling others to work more effectively through what we say or do. Participants indicated that they highly valued the aspect of trust and authentic interactions. They shared their experiences and quoted the following positive behavior which mattered the most to them:

  • listening
  • nurturing individuals’ strength
  • being proactive, motivating and supportive to fellow colleagues
  • expressing appreciation and positivity verbally and non-verbally (i.e. smile, eye contact, saying thanks and please)

Participants greatly recognised the importance of positive workplace behavior (with 73% of participants rating it as ‘very important’ and 23% of ‘rather important’).

During the discussion, barriers to positive behaviour (PB) , metrics of PB, key enablers of PB and the importance of PB were found. These are shown in the table beneath.

Download the full report below.


What does Synthetron do?

What does Synthetron do?

We know that decision makers in organisations don’t want to miss out on the important insights they need to move forward. We engage the people that matter in crowdsourcing online dialogues to discover their winning ideas.

Traditional methods never seem to capture the range of emotions, frustrations thoughts and opinions of people. And if they do, they are time consuming, slow, and often only represent a small part of the target population.

Using our bottom-up online, anonymous discussion platform, Synthetron harvests the opinions and ideas of the group and helps you understand the implications for your organisation.

We believe in these underpinning ideas

  • Smart generative listening goes far deeper than just measuring people through surveys. We focus the dialogue on what matters most with tried and tested triggering questions. We have a passion for engaging people in order to connect ideas and tap into the collective wisdom.
  • Authentic conversations avoid groupthink and motivate participants to share ideas anonymously. They focus on what is said not who said them so the integrity of ideas is uncontaminated by politics and peer pressure
  • The wisdom of the crowd has the capacity to generate, evaluate and filter out the most important ideas – facilitated by our evolutionary crowdsourcing system
  • We love to discover actionable meaning from the data by rigorously analysing what people talk about, how they express themselves and where there is energy or resistance. Our report includes a “So what?” table and communication guidelines to trigger or accelerate change.

Get in touch to take part in an open session and find it out for yourself how easy it can be to discover how people are thinking.