The Value Of Feedback
In the last 6 months we have completed 20 engagements with the Sense Network. Looking back at the last 15 plus years since the Network’s inception however, and the number of engagements run to several hundred.
Over the years we have developed a strong relationship with our Network members and we’ve continually tried to improve how we work with them. From asking better questions, to writing more engaging briefs, to showing them how their input has made a difference to our clients’ businesses. We know that we work with the Network better now than we did last year but we also know that there remain opportunities for us to get even better.
The more we improve, the harder it becomes to find additional improvements. There are only so many ideas we could come up with ourselves so we asked our Network for feedback.
We wanted to make it easy for them to respond so we settled on three straightforward questions:
1. What did you enjoy about taking part in the most recent activity?
2. What wasn’t so great about your experience of this activity?
3. What could we change to make your experience better next time?
There are over 4000 members in the Sense Network and we were delighted to receive a nearly 70% response rate to our questions. We knew we’d built a special bond with many of our members but it was hugely gratifying to see so many people share their opinions.
Top of the list of things our Network enjoyed was seeing first hand how the project evolves and how their feedback is taken on board by us and our clients. The vast majority of our projects take place over multiple phases. We design the projects this way so that we share insights with the client early and they can be used to advance the thinking or ideas within our client’s business as soon as the insights emerge. This way we begin to unlock the value of the project sooner rather than later; our clients are able to make better decisions earlier; and our Network can observe the value of their contributions.
We also received a lot of constructive feedback.
The main request for us to improve upon was around how our Network can access information and review comments and feedback they’ve already provided. Not to get too technical, but much of the solution to this request lies in the functionality of the online platform we use to gather our members’ feedback. Fortunately we were able to solve a big part of the challenge by changing one of the settings. Simple as it might sound we now enable users to easily scroll back and forth through their responses and they are able to open important information in a new browser tab for easy reference.
We pride ourselves on our ability to take a client’s challenge and translate it into a clear and interesting question.
A question that our Network are easily able, and really want, to answer. Sometimes we have to wrestle with competing demands: more detail and nuance from our clients, more direct and straightforward from our Network. We try to find the right balance but we don’t always get it quite right. Our Network members remind us that we can never be complacent that we’re asking questions in the best way. Our solution to this problem will be to ask a quorum of our Network to review our questions and activities so we may edit them before they go live.
We really value the constructive responses from our Network. We know the only way we will continue to get better is to be open to feedback and to receive it with the good intentions it was given. We hope the improvements we will make to how we work with our Network will continue to be made and we will continue to learn by asking our Network about their experience collaborating with us.
Also published on Medium.