End of an era for the Ideas Hub as new opportunities for collaboration are explored

Building the Council of the Future and transforming the customer experience requires us to work together – and harnessing the creativity and knowledge of all employees is central to that.

As a complex organisation, with staff working different shift patterns and in so many different locations, I recognise we need to have the right tools to enable the collaboration and engagement that is so important to our success.

The Ideas Hub has been one of the platforms we have used and it has been of real benefit to the Council. However, our contract with the Ideas Hub provider HunchBuzz ends this month and the decision was taken earlier in the year that we would not be renewing. The associated saving is included in our budget measures for 2019/20.

With Office 365 now rolled out, there is an opportunity to look at how we can continue to improve online collaboration using the options open to us and work is ongoing in that respect.

The intention is to launch a replacement for the Ideas Hub, developed and managed in-house, with a firm focus on improving services across the organisation while making the most of our reduced resources. We need to put the customer at the heart of innovation.

The aim is to promote collective problem-solving and collaboration across the organisation as we seek to capture, refine and deliver your suggestions for how we can do things, big and small, more effectively. The hub is likely to be have a different name, reflecting our customer-centric approach.

A customer’s experience often cuts across Clusters and Functions, so we must think beyond organisational boundaries. One City, One Council, One Team: our new Guiding Principles provide inspiration. Our Organisational Capabilities provide the context.

Digital systems may give us the means to be more efficient but it’s the way we use new technology that really counts. That means having a greater understanding our customers and their requirements. Qualities like empathy and imagination will be invaluable as we redesign services and operations to better serve communities and deliver value for money.

The new platform is being developed using tools in Office 365 and I will share further news on that as the project progresses, as part of a wider piece of work being done to improve communication and engagement throughout the Council.

Since its introduction in 2015, the Ideas Hub has helped drive transformation and I would like to thank its many contributors (and impassioned commentators!). Be assured, recent submissions – including those from the “Make Every Penny Count” campaign – remain under active consideration.

We want to build on that success, so I hope you will all join me in constructively embracing the new hub when it arrives.

If we improve the customer experience, we improve our own experience as public servants.