TS EMEAR conducts successful Innovation Workshop in partnership with Cisco’s Services Innovation Excellence Center

Three key innovation concepts identified as a result of workshop: Silo Busting, Data for Decision & Inventory Task

EMEAR Service Logistics and Operations (SLO) sits within TS EMEAR and works to enable regional advance hardware replacement and onsite field engineering support, one of the foundational pillars of Cisco TS.

In order to address ‘Innovation through Automation’, the EMEAR SLO team enlisted the Services Innovation Excellence Center (SIEC) to help run a team workshop. The workshop targeted three themes: ‘Operational Excellence’, ‘Ease of doing Business’ and ‘Business Outcomes’.

Taking place on 29th and 30th September 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal, the innovation workshop saw 60 members of the EMEAR SLO team from across the region engage in an intensive face-to-face discussion focused on the three automation themes. The workshop lasted for a total of eight hours and provided a platform for the team to realise three key concepts to be launched as innovation projects:

All three areas were strong candidates for driving the ‘Innovation through Automation’ topic of the workshop forward within SLO.

Building Innovation

The workshop was sponsored by Mike Strain, Director of Technical Support from EMEAR SLO and was directly supported by Matt Asman and Nic Selk, both Innovation Program Managers from the SIEC.

Commenting on the support from the SIEC, Hege Aagaard-Nilsen, Business Operations Manager, TS EMEAR, said:

“The SIEC played a big part in the planning, setup and management of the workshop. They supported the initial ideation with our leadership team in order to target the area of innovation and through its partnership with Propellerfish, facilitated the innovation workshop itself.”

Following the successful completion of the workshop, the EMEAR SLO team created three innovation project teams, each with an appointed leader. The three teams are responsible for diving deeper into the three innovation projects identified during the workshop: Silo Busting, Data for Decision and Inventory of Task. Commenting of the task ahead, Hege said:

“The innovation workshop has provided the teams with the framework to work within, equipping them to develop the innovation projects they’ve been tasked with. The framework will guide the teams to find Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) to implement and further incubate our innovation ideas, to identify long term opportunities and to build these into our overall strategy”.

She continued:

“The energy the workshop created was great and has really inspired the teams to move the ideas forward. It provided a perfect balance of hard work and fun.”

“The workshop was an important phase in SLO’s bid to address its innovation opportunities. Executing this workshop shows just how serious the team is about leveraging innovation to shape the future of our Technical Services business. Once the team begins to shape its concepts, we can expect to see some real momentum building around these opportunities for automation within SLO.”

Enabling Innovation

Since the workshop took place, the three innovation concepts have made good progress. The Silo Busting team is currently furthest along, with much exploring and learning having taken place over the last couple of months. Through the use of Jive, the team has been able to drive virtual collaboration on the idea successfully. An ideation journey will be conducted face-to-face in February, with the objective to drill down to a few targeted opportunities, which the team will then aim to implement once they’ve secured backing from their leadership team.

The Data for Decision and Inventory of Task teams have also made good progress, but need a little more time to focus on the discovery/identify phase of their concepts.

Accelerating Innovation

Reflecting on the whole workshop process, Hege said:

“There were some key lessons learnt from the workshop. From my perspective, taking the SIEC’s advice and guidance is of primary importance – I can’t stress that enough. Additionally, I would advise any team that takes part in an innovation workshop to realise that the preparation is key, along with carefully selecting an appropriate venue for the workshop. Remember that you are likely to have a large team in one place for a number of hours, so must allow plenty of space, time for breaks, food and refreshments in order to keep your team comfortable and motivated throughout”.

Hege concluded:

“I would definitely recommend other teams to take part in an innovation workshop with the SIEC and I will certainly consider organising another in the future. I’ve already ordered the SIEC’s ‘workshop-in-a-box’ pack, in order to conduct an ideation workshop with a smaller innovation team of seven people.”

For more information on any of the innovation projects mentioned please contact Hege Aagaard-Nilsen or to discuss your interest in running innovation workshops contact the SIEC.