We were all asked to gather round just before the Northumbrian Water Group’s Innovation Festival got started to be briefed on how the day would unfold. It was still early in the morning and the meeting place was in a tented village in Gosforth Park Racecourse. It had been raining overnight and the damp was seeping into our bones.
The organizers did their best to warm us up by telling us about the entertainment of the previous night, how the different groups were getting on and what the new arrivals among us had to do. I was one of them and paid particular attention to the person who was leading my sprint. I did not want to get lost in the crowd as there were a lot of people there.
Each of the sprint leaders gave an update on their group’s progress. Not having been there on day one meant that it was difficult to keep up but I got a good flavour of what was going on. My ears picked up however when one of the leaders talked of a few initiatives to build the team culture across what is a large and distributed organization.
The one I remember most was the idea of a daily question. Each day they would ask something of the whole workforce, via email, text and social media. It could be anything from how to improve communication at work or to reduce leakages. Their response rate seemed enormous with several hundred responses a day and this suggested to me two things. Firstly the questions meant something to the audience and secondly they were followed up on. It may feel like an onerous task but I am sure that there are more than 250 things you would want to ask in a year.
What a great idea, crowdsourcing at its best. I wish I had thought of it but it is an idea I am certainly going to steal. Now, what questions would I like to ask?