Insights Experience Design

As the year draws to a close, many business leaders find themselves in the same boat: spend your budget surplus or risk losing it. Even more of a challenge is finding a way to spend an excess budget that’s impactful and delivers value to the organization (no more coffee mugs!). When evaluating opportunities to make the most of the year-end, you should be looking for quick wins that drive impact for your team, while also setting your department up for success in next year’s first quarter. Here are five ways to end the year on a high note and get a jump start on reaching next year’s goals that won’t require months of planning.

1. If you’re ‘Zoomed’ out...

If you’re currently working remotely, months of virtual meetings have probably left you with at least some degree of digital fatigue. On top of that, we don’t have the opportunity to get together with our team members for the typical end-of-year town hall, party, or gathering to celebrate everything we’ve accomplished together. 

Whether you’re missing out on your usual holiday party or a 2021 planning session (or something in-between), there’s a better way to end the year than a 500-person Zoom. Instead, deliver a more immersive, interactive experience for your team. 

Our suggestion? A customized Microsoft Teams environment with collaborative activities, engaging breakout rooms, guest speakers, and even analog tie-ins to make the experience feel more like an in-person event (think: a semi-virtual wine tasting or delivered meal).

2. If you’re ready to get a head start on 2021 innovation…

The pandemic has forced all of us to rethink how we can best meet our customer’s needs,  but it isn’t always easy to do. If you’re ready to begin working towards 2021 goals and start developing a new digital product or solution, gathering your team for a Human-Centered Design Lab is a quick and easy way to deliver impact in Q4. 

Why? Using Human-Centered Design Labs help teams develop solutions with greater efficiency by using a framework of collaborative activities focused on the goals of the end-user. In a half-day session, your team could have their next great idea (or three) storyboarded and ready for development. This gives you an opportunity to connect with your team, while delivering the outlines for products and solutions to develop after the session ends.

3. If you have a concept for a new product or solution…

For most organizations, there is no shortage of great ideas, but the process for bringing them to life can be tedious. Rapid prototyping can develop a working model of a product or solution, giving you a tangible output to showcase with stakeholders. 

Our team of expert facilitators, UX designers and SME’s can help fast track your team's ideation session.  Identifying key elements such as user personas, user experience goals among other essential elements are all part of our rapid ideation labs. Whether you are looking to further develop an idea, explore business modeling or the value of an idea, EX3 Labs can help you.

4. If you want to advance diversity and inclusion efforts…

As recent events have proved, fostering a diverse and inclusive company culture requires work. Even as the year comes to a close, there are still opportunities to get your department together in a virtual environment to discuss D&I topics in a structured, gamified manner that encourages people to connect and learn from each other.

In our current climate, building a more thoughtful, more emotionally intelligent workforce is one of the most critical aspects of future planning. Building these soft skills and encouraging coworkers to explore different perspectives may sound like a complicated task, but using immersive learning tools can make it easier to build knowledge that will last. Solutions like Inner-Action™ workshops from EX3 Labs can create impactful learning experiences in just a quarter or half-day session.

5. If automated workflows are part of your 2021 plan…

Now more than ever, business leaders are being challenged to do more with less. Many large organizations have departments and workers engaged in processes that include repetitive, routine tasks that take up huge chunks of time (and therefore, budget). Luckily, infusing automation into workflows is an attainable end-of-year goal.

Business process automation increases efficiency improves the quality of work and reduces costs. As you plan for 2021, it’s not too late to identify areas in your business that could most benefit from automation. Exploring which tasks can be automated all the way through development and implementation, EX3 Lab’s team is here to help create a frictionless, lightweight experience for you and your team.

Raymond James - Raymond James' COO, Kim Jenson, makes a point of taking "listening tours" and being where the action is. Her career in financial services has given her insight into the way work/ life balance has transformed over the years, why a "people first, client first" mentality is essential, and how to close the customer feedback loop.

On the heels of its summer internship program, KPMG was interested in developing a fun, lightweight activity to engage interns as the program concluded, and crowdsourcing new ideas on how to improve the program for the next class of interns. KPMG partnered with EX3 Labs to design and create content for, and lead an interactive workshop for its 120 summer interns.

BMO - “202 years didn’t happen by chance,” says SVP Leslie Anderson of BMO Harris Bank on her company’s legacy of innovation. On this week’s episode, she talks with us about keeping a large organization nimble through partnerships, how she builds an engaged workforce, and her bold predictions about the future of banking.

#UnlockingInnovation is a podcast by EX3 Labs, produced in partnership with 1871 Chicago.

Be sure to subscribe to keep up with new episodes as they air.

Microsoft - You can’t go many places in Chicago without hearing Adam Hecktman’s name mentioned. As Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, Adam’s work with Microsoft drives cities and communities towards a more equitable future. An advocate for the power of public spaces, Adam constantly pushes himself to ensure that civic resources (whether driven by technology or policy) are available to everyone. On this week’s episode, we talk with him about how he’s working to bridge the digital divide, the “innovation engines” that are startups, growing up with Microsoft, and much more. It’s a fascinating look into the past, present, and future of technology and community in Chicago.


#UnlockingInnovation is a podcast by EX3 Labs, produced in partnership with 1871 Chicago.

Be sure to subscribe to keep up with new episodes as they air.

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