Unique Digital Connector between an organization's culture and its community

A digital offering which inhabits the same dimension where culture lives – its community

One of the key activities of any organization is timely and fact-based communication about what is occurring in an organization – whether it be in a time of crisis, change or celebration. Commonly an individual or dedicated staff carries out this responsibility on behalf of the leadership to disseminate information to its employees. The use of specific channels of communication tools mirror the uniqueness of each organization and its culture.

But is this classical communication sufficient to foster an organization’s culture which needs to foster nimbleness in their employees and master the challenges of rapid change?

A novel and additional communication channel to enhance communication within organizations has emerged out of the on-going development of the use of digitalization for culture transformation: Pinboards


Why is this kind of a digital communication channel different from other classical communication and collaboration tools? 

Pinboards makes open, transparent and authentic communication among all individuals in an organization – the CEO, the leadership team and all employees – possible in a secure digital environment. From providing information and emotional support to an organization’s employees during a time of crisis to an employee reaching out to colleagues to solve a wicked problem which is impeding on-going product development, an organization’s community of employees are able to be in conversation with each other about their specific issues and needs at anytime from anywhere.

This nature of a digital communication channel takes on a particular importance during a culture change and culture transformation initiative. Pinboards becomes a key component of an ecosystem of processes which are designed to foster a growth mindset and adroit habits characteristic of an agile organization. Similar to the energy flows within an ecosystem, Pinboards enables each element of the system to be connected with each other. Employees at all levels of the organization are members of a system which is the organization’s community as a whole. iStock 1209663120

What exactly is Pinboards - and what is it not? 

As a tool for community communication, Pinboards, should be clearly differentiated from other collaboration tools. It deliberately dispenses with a range of functions that would support collaboration but at the same time separates employees into small groups or special interest peer groups. Employees across all areas and hierarchy levels should not perceive Pinboards only as a work tool. More importantly, it is part of the exchange among friends and colleagues which can be used not only during working hours but outside of working hours as well. Employees publish articles and interact with them (likes & comments) on a location-wide basis or across the company.

Pinboards is a digital tool which fosters community communication and is based on cloud-based responsive web app technologies. The platform pursues the goal of networking employees with business and non-business-related topics in order to strengthen cohesion through company-wide, communal communication. As a result, a more stable, more powerful and innovative communication is cultivated. Pinboards is hosted in Germany and is GDPR compliant. Pinboards offers an inexpensive infrastructure. As standard software (SSW) with a high degree of customization possibilities, Pinboards can be adapted to the specific needs of individual companies.

Pinboards offers an open communication forum for an organization’s community. By so doing, Pinboards enables individuals to connect, share information and collaborate across hierarchies, departments and geographies – to name just a few emergent possibilities. Through this digital communication platform, a culture of conversation in resonance with an organization’s culture is both stimulated and cultivated.

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Why does the use of Pinboards provide a compelling strategic component during a culture change and culture transformation initiative?  

Each individual should feel valued as a member of the company's community, feel an intrinsic motivation to move the company's efforts forward to create the envisioned future and success. 

Ensemble Enabler and Pinboards are deeply convinced that each voice counts and that all employees should be able to interact on eye-level, no matter when and from where. 

From the very start of any initiative, the explicit nature of Pinboards’ facilitation of openness and transparency fosters trust among the network of its users. This is the foundation and the DNA of Pinboards.

The question which drives employees is “What really happens in my company?”. Through Pinboards the community transparently reflects itself upon insights from Trainee-Level to C-Level, deep-dive content from core products/services and customers appreciation, to transparent discussions on current challenging topics, corporate sports groups and leisure activities among the employees. The community itself creates the content which is important for them.

Pinboards is especially powerful when launched early during the roll-out a culture change and culture transformation initiative. It does not only serve as a medium to communicate the aspirations of the initiative within the context of the organization’s cultural identity. Furthermore Pinboards offers the opportunity to engage individuals at all levels of the organization to actively co-create the unique character and structure of their own organization’s digital communication platform.

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How is Pinboards developed and put into action in an organization?

Pinboards’ aim as a communications channel is to cultivate a vibrant community of engaged employees in an individual organization. As a result, Pinboards is not an “off-the-shelf” digitalized communication channel software. Together Ensemble Enabler and Pinboards collaborate with an organization to conceive a company-specific version of Pinboards based on its tested framework and software in a short period of time.

What does this overall process look like? 

The development process reflects the phases of the overall design thinking process: UNDERSTAND – EXPLORE – REALIZE
  • In order to integrate the use of Pinboards into an organization’s specific learning or culture transformation initiative, a deep understanding of its purpose is an important first step. This understanding provides a focus for all subsequent phases. 
  • The next phase concentrates to create alignment between the organization’s intent and the use of Pinboards by including the employees in the process. This focus shapes the development of a unique Pinboards experience which fosters community within the organization from a variety of perspectives. 
  • A working prototype is developed for the organization using the existing Pinboards framework. This prototype serves as the basis for a series of tests undertaken together with employees across all hierarchy levels. These feedback loops continue for a series of run-throughs to ensure continual improvement of the user experience. 
  • The last phase of the process is the launch of a final version of Pinboards. Its use by the organization is regularly analysed during the initial roll-out period. Fine-tuning of the user experience as well as identifying new options for the on-going development of the Pinboards experience inform this post-launch phase.
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During these planning and development phases, a number of processes are used to ensure feedback from all levels of the organization. Central to all of our processes is a commitment to PARTICIPATORY METHODS which give a voice to all potential users of Pinboards. 

In addition, it is our experience that during the development phase, the testing process also serves to informally communicate not only about the interaction with Pinboards itself but also about the inclusive nature of the development process. The role of potential INFLUENCERS in the organization as active participants in the early development process is always carefully considered. Through their personal accounts about their experience during the testing process with others, these individuals serve as POSITIVE MULTIPLIERS to encourage future Pinboards use by other colleagues.


Impact of the use of Pinboards as a Digital Connector  

Reflecting upon the use of Pinboards in an organization, key insights have been gained about its impact as an integrated component of an organization’s learning or culture transformation initiative.

PINBOARDS SUPPORTS ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY

Fostering continuous learning, championing adaptability or advocating transformational change are fundamental issues which leaders of today’s organizations encounter. The planning and design of Pinboards serve to reinforce the efforts of a CEO and his/her leaders to support an organizational culture which is shared by a community of employees.

A shared understanding of a company’s purpose and culture is cultivated through the participation of influencers during the planning process. The discussions and feedback rounds make these concepts both vibrant and comprehensible for employees. By addressing the question “Why are we undertaking this initiative?”, the participatory development of Pinboards encourages employees to look towards an organization’s emerging future. At the same time, by dealing with co-creation of content development, providing constructive feedback and sharing ideas and suggestions, the participants in the development process develop the point of view that “We are contributing to the design of our organization’s future.” 

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PINBOARDS REFLECTS A COMPANY’S “LOOK”

The elements of the established corporate design of an organization opens a door for the visual communication of the organization’s culture. The corporate design of an organization sets the customization of Pinboards in motion. This unique “look” of Pinboards serves to support a feeling of WE. All the users in the organization recognize visually that “This is our culture and our own communication.” 

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PINBOARDS’ IMPACT IS ENRICHED THROUGH OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTICIPATION AND FEEDBACK

The implementation of a participative test phase enables the development of a customized version of an organization’s own Pinboards app. More importantly, it reveals and deepens an understanding of the employees’ expectations, needs and aspirations for Pinboards’ use in their organization. This participation not only provides input for on-going focused content development. It also serves to support a feeling of both individual and group responsibility in the organization.

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Why should Pinboards become an integral part of your cultural and digital transformation in your organization?

PINBOARDS MAKES DIGITALIZATION ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL. 

When realized as a component of a learning and/or culture transformation initiative, Pinboards provides a digital integration to present an organization’s vision, values and culture. This is also the case with the proprietary Peer-to-Peer validation process where the analogue and digital aspects of digitalization meet face-to-face: people actively use digital technology to connect their colleagues to the Pinboards app. By creatively using a digital format to foster communication throughout the organization, Pinboards supports all digitalization efforts within an organization. 

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Through processes such as Peer-to-Peer Learning, Community Learning, Leadership Sprints, C-Suite Mentoring, Team Coaching, Thematic Large Scale Events, Learning Journeys, Cluster Communication and Pinboards - a cloud-based communication platform, Ensemble Enabler supports organizations to gather insights and act upon ideas along their learning journey.

Click here to discover more about how Ensemble Enabler can support your company's individual journey to digital transformation

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This blogpost was was co-created and written by Thomas Gaertner, CEO of Pinboards and Patricia Munro, Creative Engagement Enabler at Ensemble Enabler. 



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