How to form the best digital innovation team ?
Your digital innovation projects carry strong ambitions for your organizations. Their achievement requires the formation of dedicated teams to meet multiple challenges: technologies, uses, economic models, processes, etc. Your “ideal” digital innovation team must therefore bring together a set of expertises and know-how as broad as unique to embody your vision, take ownership of your objectives, build your solution and ensure its implementation.
Digital innovation: what are we talking about ?
To better paint the portrait of this ideal team, let's pause for a moment on what its mission will be. What do we mean by digital innovation? The definitions are multiple. Internal tools, connected objects, websites, mobile applications, tailor-made algorithms, data management strategies… everyone looks through their own prism.
Digital innovation is defined as a solution in the broad sense and not just as a product. It combines three characteristics:
• It presents a strong challenge for your organization (taking or resuming leadership, diversifying its activity, opening new markets, improving uses, etc.)
• It must quickly generate success in a market
• it is likely to impact all departments of the company (from Brand to Marketing, from development teams to after-sales service and many others)
Digital innovation differs from digital transformation, which corresponds to a completely different need, often very focused on the forced adaptation of an organization to digital. But the two are linked. To keep all its promises, digital transformation benefits from relying on digital innovation projects that complement and energize it by opening up new opportunities.
Boosting a dynamic of digital innovation
Between your digital innovation team and you, it takes trust, transparency, osmosis, sparks and more. Because the first thing to expect from this team is a state of mind: an ability to stimulate the dynamic essential to the success of digital innovation projects.
The ideal team is capable of challenging you. She is committed, passionate, and takes your issues head on. If the team is entirely or partially made up of a service provider, the relationship goes beyond the notions of principal and performer to weave a real collaboration between internal and external resources.
The team is capable of very short development iterations in order to adapt and pilot the project in the most reactive way possible. Agility necessary for the famous “Learn faster”: the faster you launch a first proposal on the market, the faster you get feedback from your target users to adjust your value proposition.
The team is able to work in a partly unknown and undocumented environment. Driven by a VUCA state of mind, a well-honed innovation team will not allow itself to be destabilized by an evolving context! On the contrary, it will flourish there. During the implementation, she will know how to integrate new APIs and platforms, adopt or discard emerging technologies according to their maturity and the contribution of value to your project, validate new libraries, etc.
In this context, the personalities that make up your team are extremely important. The diversity of expertise, profiles, their complementarity, their versatility and their experience are key.
"Partir d'une idée complexe et la concrétiser en quelques mois, c'est ce que l'équipe de BeTomorrow nous a aidé à faire ! Rapide, solide techniquement, pertinent dans les choix d’expérience utilisateur et design; nous avons trouvé un expert pour le développement de notre produit connecté. Voilà 2 ans que nous travaillons avec leur équipe pluridisciplinaire très professionnelle. Nous apprécions beaucoup leur savoir faire en accompagnement et pilotage de projet complexe."
Digital innovation: a wide range of expertises
Today, certain expertise is essential to be able to claim to work on a digital innovation project and join a dedicated team.
Understand and challenge a business model, analyze the market, the competition, define strategic objectives and opportunities.
User and customer experience
Define targets and customer journeys, understand their needs and consumption habits, prototype solutions, measure results.
Lead multidisciplinary teams, align the vision between internal and external teams, catalyze collective intelligence and stay on track with strategic objectives.
Understand, challenge brand strategies that will carry the service and/or product, appropriate the vision, project yourself.
Translate customer needs into product and feature objectives, pace development, coordinate testing and ongoing optimization.
Embody and enrich strategic and creative choices through the best technical decisions. Develop a very high quality code built to be a real “technical capital”, durable and scalable.
Anticipate, schedule, manage and monitor real confrontations with target markets. From the upstream market analyses, the Go-to-Market strategies must be thought out at the same time as the solution because they can influence even the functionalities (virality, monetization, etc.)
How to choose a partner for your digital innovation teams?
Of course, you have the option of relying on an external partner to build your digital innovation project team. This must tick all the boxes mentioned: complementarity between team members, integration of expertise and posture of “solution-oriented challenger”. But that's not all. Other selection factors should be taken into account to guarantee you a team of maximum efficiency on innovative projects:
The quality requirement: excellence in sight
Going from ideas to technical realization requires method, expertise, experience but also and above all excellence on a daily basis and at all levels! Excellence in code, excellence in design, excellence in infrastructure and data structuring: each role, each expert must be permeated by this perpetual quest. Look at the projects in detail, ask to audit the code, think about the submerged aspect of the digital iceberg before choosing your partner. Ask to exchange without intermediary with the developers on the technologies used, their quality method.
Your ambitions in terms of digital innovation require constant questioning, a quest for continuous improvement on the part of the teams. Monitoring, deepening and sharing knowledge, experimentation must be in your partner's DNA. Ask him how he organizes himself on this subject!
BeTomorrow has developed its own tool for sharing, enriching and capitalizing on knowledge between peers: Skillagora helps create the conditions for optimal team organization and commitment.
Digital innovation projects are supported by agile methods. These allow, better than a specification accompanied by a fixed commitment, to bring projects to fruition. This is true both in terms of respecting deadlines and budgets as well as in terms of commercial success and adoption of the solution. Such a result is obtained by a total application of the concepts of agility and an appropriation of its values by the members of the team. Ask your partner to describe concrete situations where their mastery of agility has made a difference.
The number of years of experience of the professionals offered to you matters. Nobody wants to be made available to a team of young graduates all propelled Lead Developer overnight. Yet it happens! A fair ratio between junior and more experienced profiles guarantees a good balance in the team. Beyond this general principle, a look at other criteria will strengthen your confidence in the profiles offered: • The typology of previous experiences • Basic training • Seniority in the company and knowledge of the methodologies. • A low turnover rate at a service provider also guarantees that its teams evolve under favorable conditions and that they will be committed to carrying out its mission. • Also see if the members of the proposed team are used to being challenged on innovative topics, with a high level of expectation. Indeed, experienced professionals who only work on “stable” projects will be uncomfortable in an innovation team.
The know-how and the feeling, the human factor!
Nobody can control it: the choice of a partner is also made partly by feeling. This reflects a know-how and a connivance on our favorite subjects. Come and visit their headquarters, meet the whole team and not just your first contacts. Pay attention to first impressions. These are often the good ones!
You can also check if your partner is classified as a “happy at work” agency.
The hallmark of digital innovation agencies
There are two opposing approaches among service providers likely to offer their skills to build your digital innovation project teams. “IT Services Company” providers place people individually in your organizations to meet a given skill need. The agencies, for their part, provide you with a turnkey team where versatile profiles are accustomed to working together. Choosing an agency is therefore choosing a team, a state of mind, a culture, as sports training does. It is the certainty of having a guarantor: as initiators of innovative digital projects, you benefit from all the experience of the agency in other sectors. It helps you to step back and enrich your vision at each stage of the project, depending on the composition of your own teams and your challenges. The benefits can be the following: • Unblocking a bogged down strategic project • The formalization of a start-up idea and its embodiment to find funding • Surgical optimization of a customer experience already generating several million euros in revenue • The launch by a leader of a complementary activity • An outsourced innovation lab to carry out ad-hoc projects • Sharing skills through training
The tailor-made joint working methods are refined over the life cycle of the project. In any case, the chosen team must be able to deal with these different points: • Upstream framing (business canvas, brand strategy, core experience, target user interviews, pitch presentation to funders, etc.) • Audit on specific aspects: IT due diligence, code audit, application audit • Special missions: Data analytics, ServerLess, DataViz, Brand creation, Design Thinking workshop… • IT development: code recovery or redesign, improvement and corrective maintenance, development of hybrid or native mobile applications, development of websites or application solutions • Go To Market: strategy, management • Innovation lab: help with structuring, outsourced innovation lab, partnerships Digital innovation agencies are also distinguished by their ability to adjust the composition of their team and to mobilize a wide variety of experts depending on the progress of a project. Through your digital innovation projects, you commit a budget, resources, reputation or the development of your company or one of its activities. This justifies the attention paid to the constitution of the team and the wide range of criteria to be taken into account. Without abusing the sport metaphor, it is a question of having very good (if not the best) elements in each position, capable of “playing collectively”. Beyond the skills, it is also a question of having a workforce with which you will establish a certain complicity. An essential point to adapt to the necessarily changing circumstances of digital innovation projects.