John Donovan, AT&T’s chief technology officer, created a mass participation approach to innovation that, by design, would not limit participation by the box occupied on the organization chart.
The process features a Web site that allows anyone (and Donovan is quick to underscore anyone) to contribute an idea, become a collaborator, or offer a challenge. “This is meritocracy at its best—a highly diverse set of people, in every sense of the word, crowd-sourcing and crowd-storming,” says Donovan. By the end of its third quarter, the site had more than twenty-four thousand members who generated two thousand ideas, and the first season’s winners have been funded and are prototyping their ideas.
Common to the lattice ways to build careers, work and participate is the enabler of a customized workplace that provides options for both employers and employees. Options create flexibility and adaptability. For individuals, options provide choices to integrate career and life. For employers, options provide a greater range of responses to the high rates of change and volatility in today’s business environment.
Combining the power of the lattice ways
Many companies have made some progress in at least one lattice way. But the majority of efforts remain piece meal, reactive and siloed. Lattice approaches are constrained by lingering ladder cultural norms, business rules and structures. By taking action on all three lattice ways and connecting them to each other, companies achieve a better payoff.
At Deloitte, for example, the benefits of combining lattice ways is apparent: Nearly 90% of those who perceive the three lattice ways in action are highly engaged. These employers are committed to going the extra mile to deliver results. By contrast, only 30% of those who did not perceive any lattice ways in their work experience are engaged.