SAN FRANCISCO — Series C, a consulting firm launched by Bite CEO Andy Cunningham, is rolling out a service that bolsters internal comms with social problem solving.
Sheldon Laube, former chief innovation officer at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, joined Series C earlier this year to replicate the social problem solving model that he worked on at PWC.
“The easy way to think about it is crowd-sourcing for businesses, but it is applying social media techniques to solve business problems,” said Laube. “It also helps people understand the important issues at their organization and engages people in a direct way --- it’s what internal communications should be all about.”
Series C’s offering provides the groundwork for social problem solving that organizations would ultimately be able to maintain on their own. This includes identifying an idea management software -- like BrightIdea or Spigit -- to provide employees with a platform to share and comment on ideas. Beyond this, the service works with organizations to identify business problems that require unconventional solutions and to communicate the need clearly to all levels within the organization.
Laube cautions, Series C is not advocating a high-tech suggestion box, which he says, often leads to “a bunch of ideas that nobody even wanted.” Instead, he advises organizations to identify an important business problem, defined by a challenge that a business leader is “losing sleep over.”
“Then you have to set up a process that will actually ‘listen’ to responses -- people know companies can’t implement every idea, but they do expect if they have an idea people will listen,” Laube said. For example, every problem request is bounded to four to six weeks, allowing for a manageable feedback loop.
By framing each request against a specific business problem, the process is also intended to make it easier for employees to channel their creativity in new ways.
“Traditional brainstorming is you invite a group of people together to solve a problem,” Laube said. “Social problem solving is being able to say - ‘I don’t know who the experts are but I’m going to put the problem out there and let the people with ideas come to me.’ And if you have a really hard problem, the solution might come from a different domain than you’re used to.”
Next15, Bite's parent company, owns a minority stake in Series C.