Kick-starting an efficient digital change management process
Through an efficient five day sprint, Fujitsu and Nodes created a strategy and a prototype to support the development of an onboarding app for employees on the autistic spectrum.
One of the largest ICT service providers in the world, Fujitsu, has been trying to create a more inclusive and caring work environment for their employees. In particular, they considered how assistive technology could be utilised to better embrace diversity within the organisation, meaning getting more people on the autistic spectrum onboard, and approached Nodes. Nodes teamed up with Fujitsu to provide an efficient way of kickstarting a digital change management process. We provided the framework and methodology, and facilitated a Five Day Sprint. Following the sprint session, a strategy and prototype was developed, which would enable the creation of an app, BuddyConnect, which turned out to be an immensely productive and efficient way of utilising assistive technology in businesses such as Fujitsu, and it is now offered as part of the Fujitsu pipeline.
Supporting a better work life for people with autism through assistive technology
After a few successful projects, Fujitsu came to Nodes with a wish to improve their work environment to be more inclusive, caring and embracing diversity within the organisation. It has always been a goal for them to be socially responsible, and the fact that they are included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World index for the 19th time, shows that they are doing it well. They wanted to focus on improving work life for those on the autistic spectrum by developing assistive technologies to make their lives more fulfilling and a little easier. 15% of adults on the autistic spectrum in the UK are in employment but research shows 75% want to work and could work. In this particular case, Fujitsu wanted to facilitate and support a buddy scheme introduced to new employees and they asked Nodes to facilitate the process.
Established in 1923, Fujitsu is the world’s 7th largest information and communication technology (ICT) company and no.1 in Japan. Fujitsu offers a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. They have a yearly revenue of 3.952 billion yen (March 2018) and have approximately 132,000 Fujitsu employees supporting customers in more than 100 countries.
Building and testing ideas through a Five Day Sprint resulting in an MVP
Nodes worked with Fujitsu to define the challenge in collaboration with Fujitsu, Barclays and PurpleSpace to then plan and facilitate a five day sprint around assistive technology. During the sprint it was discussed and tested how Fujitsu and its partners could use assistive technology to improve the worklife of their current and future employees with autism.
The sprint helped Fujitsu understand the on-boarding process of new employees, and gave them a number of ways to better that first experience. The five day innovation sprint enabled Fujitsu and Nodes to build and test an idea after one week. After the sprint they got a better understanding of how to execute the idea, and knew whether or not the idea created value for the users and business goals. This knowledge enabled the client and Nodes to take the decision about next steps.
See below figure for an overview of a five day sprint.
“To partner in our endeavour to create a better work environment for people with autism we joined forces with Nodes. Nodes brought a passionate sprint team to lead on taking our concepts into a validated mobile app prototype that demonstrated great user experience. Nodes showed energy, commitment and excellent agile sprint management to deliver us a better understanding of how to execute our idea.”
– Kevin Collins, Channel, Alliances and Partnerships Manager at Fujitsu EMEIA
The BuddyConnect app
The next step was then to create an MVP that became an app called BuddyConnect. Fujitsu’s strategy was to trial the MVP as soon as possible with some of their partners like Barclays, E&Y and RBS, in which they determined to invest further in the app to eventually start white-labelling it and selling it to their clients throughout EMEA.
This has been introduced to all new graduate employees from September 2018, in which they are matched 1:1 with a Senior Buddy. The aim is to provide Junior Buddies with more support and therefore improve Fujitsu’s onboarding process.
Colour-coded wellbeing tracker
Users can track and see the history of their wellbeing, take actions depending on their wellbeing, find contact details for their assigned buddy and find further support information, such as an interactive map of the office. Push notifications alert Senior Buddies to the Junior Buddies’ wellbeing status.
Ensuring employee retention
By improving Fujitsu’s onboarding process, the app facilitates the creation of a trusted relationship over time, which is key to ensure employee retention. They also assure that people with disabilities such as autism can have an easier and more inclusive work life.
Making a significant difference
“BuddyConnect can make a significant difference, because it is made to facilitate the creation of a natural relationship between like-minded individuals. According to our findings that’s all people need. A trusting relationship to another human being. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Christian Nielsen, Head of Strategy, Nodes
Establishing an enduring partnership with Fujitsu
Nodes and Fujitsu worked together on other projects, both before and after the BuddyConnect project:
Before this project, Nodes and Fujitsu developed “Ask Saskia”, an AI-driven virtual support agent that aims to make the whole helpdesk experience in companies simpler and faster for the employees, while optimising work efficiency and reducing cost. This replaced their existing web-based service with native apps, for them internally and their global customer base.
In January 2020, Nodes was engaged in a new Five Day Sprint with Fujitsu and four different Police Forces, helping them embrace ways of working together to understand and define the problem around Out of Court Disposals. Sketching solutions, building a realistic prototype and finally putting the prototype into the real world by testing it with police officers. This will simplify processes, so that the police officers can spend more time on actual policing. Please take a look at a video that we made of the process below.