Every week we’ve been hosting calls with members of our community, the Open Assembly Collective, to talk about the implications of the COVID-19 disruption on how companies are thinking about work and how to get it done. Last week we heard from platforms that are focused on helping companies use their communities’ talent to solve big problems. This week we heard from leaders within many of the most progressive companies who have been using open talent to get work done for a while now. It was a very hopeful and progressive conversation focused on the new willingness of organizations to look at open talent models and take friction out of working with customers by creating more digital connections. We are also seeing more companies willing to collaborate and share resources, including talent. Here are some of the specific insights from this brilliant group.
Chris Stanton, Harvard Business School
Chris has been thinking a lot about how the work and labor market will shift because of the COVID-19 disruption. He sees two trends. First, we will see more open talent tools and platforms move inside companies to capture the cognitive surplus from slack labor resources. Second, this feels like this is the start of a long-term shift in the future of work. 40% of small businesses surveyed have adopted remote work and there has been a reported 18% drop in productivity. This will come up when people get more used to working in a different environment.
Jesse Arundell, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Jesse has seen a large uptick in digital collaboration across a number of tools from Microsoft Teams to Yammer. He’s been inspired by the willingness of teams to collaborate around helping Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s customers in new ways. For instance, the bank has set up the Business Relief Think Tank — a new mechanism for their people to submit ideas, dedicated entirely to how people and the bank can support local Australian businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
Sajeev Nair, Zurich Insurance Company
Zurich has been working with Topcoder since January 2019 and has completed over 100 open talent projects. Sajeev said it’s going really well. Zurich understands the importance of sharing the cognitive resources across the whole organization, and has started an internal crowd between countries, which is becoming more prominent now. He is especially excited for Topcoder’s TAAS (Talent as a Service) solution to solve problems faster.
Kirstin Hammerberg, Sid Lee
Kristin thought it was interesting that not only are individuals finding new modes of working, but companies are also becoming more open to collaborate with one another. She sees companies exploring ways to not only share ideas and IP, but also surplus talent, creating ecosystems and allowing everyone to connect to the bigger culture.
Gavin McClafferty, Subsea 7
Gavin pointed to not only COVID-19 as a major disruption for Subsea 7, but also the collapse in oil prices. Now there are even more open, fluid talent solutions and resources coming online, so finding talent is no longer the biggest constraint for companies. Now is the time. The genie has been let out of the bottle and innovation will only accelerate.
Paul Hlivko, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Paul has been leading the charge at Wellmark to shift the mindset from being a healthcare company that uses technology to a technology company that works in healthcare. He’s been using open talent models and internal crowds to shift more interactions with customers to digital, self-serve solutions. Adoption of open and digital tools are accelerating quickly.
Brian Martin, Project Worldwide
While Project Worldwide has been hard hit by this disruption, Brian is pleased with the willingness of everyone to shift their mindset and work in new ways, including remote collaboration between companies and exploring open talent models. While the disruption of COVID-19 has been difficult, it will fundamentally change the way all companies work.
Gary Howarth, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gary has been working on open talent solutions at NIST to solve public safety issues. He mentioned this disruption has made NIST rethink a lot of things, for the better. Regional hack-a-thons are going online along with the live pitch events. This has an advantage in that more people can participate in them. Being forced to go virtual is going to speed up their process.