How leading companies are innovating remotely

Summary and reflections for the article- How leading companies are innovating remotely.


During COVID two types of companies emerged- mourners and stormers.  

Mourners adopted a conservative approach to change. 87% of mourners focused primarily on what they could control: firstly, re-creating and repurposing their offices, and secondly, expending enormous cognitive load pontificating about what work used to be like and what it might become. Less than 10% of mourners even think about innovation — and, rather worryingly, more than 90% still aren’t equipped to innovate using a remote work model.


Stormers adopted a radically progressive approach. Their agile transition to the new normal expedited innovations, including a radical subscription-based service at Twitter, and a grocery delivery service from Amazon that expanded delivery capacity by 160%, and increased sales by 40% and profits by 100%. 98% of which operate a platform-based business model in which users can function as buyers and sellers, readers and writers, consumers and creators — a growing behavioral trend referred to as prosumers, individuals that blur the line between production and consumption activities.


We discovered that this business model exists symbiotically with Rendanheyi, a philosophy meaning “employee and customer become one.” “Taking the time to interact with your audience always pays dividends. Though remember, effective support requires [that] you communicate frequently and set expectations. ”As soon as COVID-19 hit, stormers increased their interactions with customers; Conversely, many mourners reduced their communication and connectivity to customers, due in part to office closures, a shift to working at home, and an overreliance on chatbots.


Stormers recognise that cultivating relationships is vital to turning customers into prosumers, and prosumers into loyal brand ambassadors. During this process, stormers can gain a better understanding of their consumers, which helps to inform decisions about what products and services to develop and exactly how to do it. In addition, we found that these interactions help stormers demonstrate commitment, share knowledge, and make customers feel valued and essential overall, which builds loyalty by more than 62%.


Six Steps to Creating Customer Value

The study sought to share insight on how leaders can innovate under a remote work model in a way that develops episodic loyalty through the creation of customer value.

The findings identified six sequential steps that stormers take to achieve this.


Step 1: Define a schedule and stick to it. Employees need to be safe and secure, both emotionally and cognitively, before new ideas can begin to emerge.  re-creating a sense of order will provide structure and familiarity in times of uncertainty. Setting up clear systems for engagement is of paramount importance.


Step 2: Introduce service culture. everyone and everything focuses on supporting customer-facing teams. This concept was adopted by 94% of stormers, fostering collaborative working, supplanting individualism, and promoting collectivism. Stormers do this by removing the command-and-control structure — typically characterised by pyramidal org charts, old-school line management, layers of authority, and traditional, rigid pathways of progression and reward — that is the antithesis of their service culture. Absent such a hierarchy, customer-facing teams can flourish — with potentially immense ramifications for revenue and profit.


Step 3: Turn leaders into stewards. Removing command and control and introducing customer-facing teams necessitates that leadership and leaders’ responsibilities evolve. Within 96% of stormers, old ideas of leadership have been replaced by stewardship, a concept that fosters collaborative working, supplants individualism, and supports collectivism, giving individual employees the autonomy to serve customer needs while working toward a common purpose as part of a team.


Step 4: Together, reduce customer distance. With stewards in place, everybody can work together to achieve a common purpose: creating customer value by reducing customer-employee distance.


Step 5: Let employees own customer relationships. Radical empowerment can prosper only if employees are allowed to own the relationship with every customer, which goes against conventional advice from many managers.


Step 6: Gamify. Amazon employee workstations feature a roster of games. This gamification concept was also adopted by 76% of stormers to measure their employees’ contributions to innovations. We found that 81% of stormer workers who experienced such gamification at their workplaces enjoyed their employment more significantly as a result.


Ultimately, innovation is crucial to business sustainability, especially in this disruptive era. The six steps that the study identified allow workers to harness this newfound creativity and generate innovations that support product and service development remotely.


Is your school a mourner or stormer?  

Most successful companies are agile stormers who communicate with their stakeholders and build strong relationships. 

How do the steps can relate to education- 
Step 1- having a strategy for change.  
Step 2 - The focus on supporting families during COVID. 
Step 3 - Supporting everyone to lead and giving them the autonomy to best meet the students needs during lockdown while working towards a collective vision. 
Step 4 - relationship with families during COVID. 
Step 5 - Building relationships. 
Step 6 -  I don't think this one applies within education?  

Innovation is also crucial within education.  We had to change the way we worked overnight, in some instances.  Working with the whole school team to achieve effective innovation was crucial in order to meet the pupils need and continue to provide them with an education through such difficult times.  


 Laker, B., Patel, C., Budhwar, P. and Malik, A. (2020).  How leading companies are innovating remotely.  

Image - taken from the book club slides from James Potter and John Cobb, NCE.  
Contact Me

Does any of this blog resonate with you?  

Please tweet me with an reflections you have of your own school at @ArkinstallNikki.