THERE IS STRENGTH IN THE GROUP
Sense of Belonging is a strong and inevitable feeling in human nature. Many psychologists have investigated this emotional need, highlighting how belongingness can be identified across all cultures and different types of people. Several researchers have also studied the importance of feeling part of a community and accepted within a group, considering the impact this may have within the contexts of schools, workplaces, and other kinds of social connections.
Cultivating belongingness has been particularly important during these difficult pandemic years, during which millions of workers experienced difficulties due to remote working. If the transition from office to home working has been easy for those with a strong network of colleagues and professional connections, new hires and employees who were not as professionally connected went through that feeling of being disconnected and decreased sense of belonging. To fight against this detachment, “The three A’s of inclusion, Awareness, Authenticity, and Accountability” are crucial for reinforcing employees’ sense of belonging within a work environment.
INNOVATION WITHIN COMMUNITIES: WHAT ARE THE MECHANISMS?
This is especially true also for those contexts where innovation and creativity are at the basis of daily activities: for instance, in research teams, there are several advantages of working together. One of the most renowned declarations about the importance of the communities is the Manifesto for Agile Software Development where it is clearly stated the importance of valuing more “individuals and interactions over processes and tools, customer collaboration over contract negotiation”.
Then it’s not surprising communities have played a fundamental role in marketing and branding since when social media started to be commonly used, and even before the existence of the Internet, as described in details within the Communis Manifesto. According to the author of this overview of how companies must learn in this new era how to connect to people and communities, the main elements of a community are:
- The people who form the community,
- The Relationships they form to create and strengthen the group,
- The context around which they form the community or the main interest they share.
However, one of the main limits of being in a group can be what’s called the filter bubble, a phenomenon by which users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, causing again a disconnection. That’s why a proposal by Inc.com, suggests the creation of innovation communities that involve a ‘group of diverse minds coming together to share ideas, struggles, and resources in the spirit of collaboration’. This is one of the possibilities to ensure a creative flow for innovation based on:
- Collection of new perspectives,
- Improvement of employees engagement
- Increase of actual resources.
Also Charles Leadbeater, in his article for the British Council, describes how conversations and collaboration of people with different ideas, knowledge and insights are the keys to create new mixes and blends for innovative concepts. According to the author, ‘the most effective way to organise a creative community is to ensure it is drawn together and motivated by a cause’. In fact, identifying a common objective is fundamental to have people engaged and involved with a sense of purpose.
NEW SPACES FOR INNOVATION IN KONICA MINOLTA GLOBAL R&D
That’s why within Konica Minolta we have the policy for the use of AI, a set of detailed indications focusing on the main vision of creating a better, human-centric society where individuals can achieve their own purpose. And following this vision, within the R&D teams, we keep pushing our boundaries to create new spaces for fostering innovation at physical and digital levels.
Our Rome laboratory was established in 2018 as one of the first research centres opened by a multinational company in the Italian capital city. Since then, we’ve been working on developing solutions and digital services that focus on Video Analytics, such as Video Solutions Services, enabled by key technologies as Hybrid Edge to Cloud computing, Cognitive services and API management.
The key element of our approach is that we focus on customers: to frame the business problem, it is essential to put people first. That’s why we’re not technology-driven, and we use several methodologies like design thinking to be sure we focus on humans to find together effective solutions. Another element of our strategy is the development of pilot projects, through which it is possible to leverage customer engagement and navigate them from concept design, through research, agile development and testing to the first steps of pre-productisation.
So, overall, in the future, we plan to keep following our strategies for creating both virtual and physical spaces where develop our innovation community with the objectives of meeting with partners and clients, fostering business activism, collaborating with companies to navigate them towards digital transformation and creating a sense of belonging that break silos and foster creativity.
Get in contact with our researchers, if you would like to be part of our innovation community.