Leading Global Health & Nutrition Group
Partnering to accelerate the digital transformation of a global health & nutrition leader
Our client is a global, purpose-led leader in health and nutrition, applying bioscience to improve the health of people, animals, and the planet. Growing both organically and through strategic M&As, the firm boasts a ~30,000-strong workforce across all continents, a multi-billion € turnover, and countless innovation patents.
Driven by a genuine ambition to become truly digital at its core, this firm engaged us in early 2020 to plan and drive the implementation of several key elements of its digital transformation strategy, while also encouraging us to develop entirely new elements of their approach based on our experience and IP.
Working with a large and diverse group of passionate digital and business leaders, we collaboratively developed the vision and OKRs for our engagement, together with the agile project structure required to simultaneously deliver short-term tactical gains and longer-term strategic improvements, backed by data, before setting out on our multi-year partnership.
Digital Workplace Adoption
Recognising the essential role of the firm’s digital workplace (based on Microsoft 365) as the place where real work happens, our first mission was to leverage our market-leading experience of enterprise social platforms to maximise not only the usage and utility of the platform’s full range of digital tools, but also – and importantly – to facilitate the more agile and responsive ways of working enabled by these technologies. Our approach utilised 6 inter-connected strands:
- A powerful Guiding Coalition of senior digital executives, committed to digital change, to remove barriers to our work and provide air cover and support where required;
- A visually rich and sticky online Learning Hub, filled with practical self-paced learning content, including learning journeys, topical toolkits, digital techniques, and bite-size learning nuggets designed to raise the digital fluency of a large and mostly traditional workforce;
- A vibrant network of Digital Guides, a self-motivated and energetic group of volunteers driven by a hunger to learn and willingness to support their peers in experimenting with, and eventually adopting, new ways of working enabled by digital technology;
- Utilising the firm’s internal social network (Yammer) and collaboration groups (Teams) to host and develop active learning communities, sense-making discussions, and peer-to-peer support;
- Partnering with the firm’s employee communications, L&D, project management and HR functions, alongside IT/IS, to dovetail this work with pre-existing non-digital priorities and piggy-back on wider comms initiatives;
- A relentless focus on metrics, data and evidence gathering to continuously improve our efforts and demonstrate success.
- Digital leadership education & development
- Online hub (SharePoint) & learning content development
- Recruitment & training of digital volunteers
- Community strategy & management
- Learning campaigns planning & execution
- Monitoring of activities & data reporting
- Agile team development & management
- Learning Hub used by almost 60% of the firm’s population
- Yammer adoption increased from <20% to almost 90% of the firm’s population
- Reduced email usage among key target groups, delivering significant efficiencies
- Recruited, trained & supported ~450 digital volunteers globally
- Reduction in routine tech support queries
- Quantified bottom-line savings across several business units
Remote & Hybrid Working
Shortly after our engagement started, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, halting all travel and forcing remote working for all white collar workers, as well as many of those working in production plants.
Within 24 hours of the first lockdown being announced, we were able to reorganise all of our programme activities to be delivered entirely online. Within 48 hours, we had prepared, published and delivered essential guidance to the whole firm on how to work remotely, how to look after themselves, and how to prepare for the unexpected.
Within a few weeks, we were also able to support the firm in developing their remote and hybrid working policies and methods, teaching people managers, digital guides and others how to organise, run and manage remote or hybrid teams, how to collaborate effectively, how to maintain focus, how to reduce the risk of digital burnout, and how to motivate them under trying circumstances.
Building on the Digital Workplace becoming central to the firm’s operations, our client saw the opportunity to launch an internal digital movement: a regionally-focussed employee digital innovation programme featuring a digital-learning-through-doing approach enabling global employees to improve how they operated locally, using digitisation and automation.
Leveraging our product development and digital accelerator experience, we helped to design the programme with a lightweight lean startup approach, enabling anyone – regardless of technical knowledge – to put forward improvement ideas, and developing a process for taking ideas all the way from initial concept to prototyping, pitching to digital executives for funding, and eventually taking prototypes into production.
To enable the programme to take off, we prepare regional digital teams, including the local Digital Guides, to support local innovators with a range of required digital product development skills, including Design Thinking, agile project management and business and pitching skills. We also helped to connect specific technical challenges with internal lo-code/no-code (mostly MS Power Platform) experts, as well as obtaining some local support time from Microsoft trainers and engineers.
The Digital Movement became very successful in engaging digitally-minded employees globally in solving local challenges without the need for ‘big IT’ involvement, and many of the prototypes have since been taken into development, resulting in significant uplifts to the top line and substantial efficiency improvements positively impacting the bottom line.
- Program co-design, process ideation & implementation support
- Design Thinking, product development and lean startup learning sessions
- Creation of online catalogue and learning materials to help spread good practices
- Support for ‘intrapreneurship’ activities and related ways of working
- ~1,500 regional employees involved
- ~500 digital improvement ideas
- ~100 prototypes, ~50% of these in production
- Ready-made innovation pipeline for operations & digital development teams
- Increased uptake of Digital Workplace tools and Power Platform
Building on the success of our earlier activities, we set about working with our client to identify, define and test the core digital business capabilities required to enable and accelerate the firm’s digital transformation activities.
Our approach to digital capabilities definition started with a realisation that ‘capabilities’ are best expressed as organisational targets that a firm should aim for – but these target capabilities are generally too big or too vague to be operationalised across a business.
We therefore broke these targets into measurable, testable components (mindsets, competencies & skills) and set about defining – at an actionable level of detail – the specific digital capabilities required by our client in a number of activity domains, focussing on how people could transition from current to future states.
This approach enabled us to quickly identify priority areas and topics for both leadership and workforce development, as well as design and launch engaging learning interventions to address identified gaps. In the process, we were also able to develop some innovative, re-usable models as methods to extend and iterate this work to remain relevant over time.
Leveraging the Digital Workplace assets and communities, we were able to propagate the learning required to develop the required digital capabilities as widely as possible. Initially focussed on an important operational programme, our capabilities work was eventually tested and utilised in other parts of the firm, providing a solid foundation for local customisation, thus providing a consistent approach and saving significant amounts of future effort.
- Capabilities model design
- Digital capabilities detailed definition
- Digital capabilities testing
- Learning interventions design & delivery
- Learning content development & targeted learning campaigns
- Key digital capabilities defined & mapped in all relevant domains
- Digital capabilities learning delivered to thousands of employees in key target groups
- Re-usable capabilities model deployed across multiple business areas – significant efficiencies