A great idea can come from any source - no matter if it comes from an organization's sales, client services, marketing, HR, or fulfillment, department. Few businesses are configured to ensure that all employees are given the opportunity to voice their ideas. When everyone has a stake in a company's success, it's important that these stakeholders feel that their voices are heard.
The first part of any strategy engagement begins with a round of stakeholder meetings. I usually lead these sessions as I would lead a focus group. While I find it best to create an detailed agenda for these meetings, I believe it's important to allow the conversation to veer into uncharted territory.
Content / Roles Survey
To help set the stage for these sessions, I usually distribute a survey to stakeholders before I meet with them. Questions that ask them to evaluate their current service offerings, their impressions of their customers, and the way their organization creates and governs their online content help me jumpstart the sessions.
Client Project Facilitators
One of the most important objectives of any stakeholder interview cycle is to identify the individuals in each division or team who are the chief influencers in the organization. These people are not necessarily the divisional heads or managers. Making sure that these thought leaders feel that they are heard and are active participants is crucial to any engagement.
When stakeholders get their hands wet in the creative process of the project, the entire project benefits as a whole. I like to encourage team members to divide into groups and brainstorm interface improvements. The next step is to get them to physicalized their concepts by cutting up magazine photos and pasting them on large sheets of paper that they can share with the larger stakeholder group. Not only does this unearth valuable design insight, but it ensures that all team members feel that they have been engaged in the process.