The Redesign Stories:

Digital Workplace Innovation for New Ways of Working

· redesign stories,work,sprint case studies,training case studies

“Redesign Stories” is a series of articles showcasing the business redesign projects we took together with 5 of our key clients. Each article takes us through the journey of innovation and agility within the organisation touching upon mindset, experience and space design. Follow the agile redesign process in the 6 inspiring stories shared in our blog.

When we talk about agile, we are not only pointing at another promising methodology. We aim to inspire businesses to open up to a paradigm-shifting work philosophy of responsible innovation - a value-creation model revolving around the customer’s needs and experiences. For the past ten years, many companies have already made the first few steps in adopting a design thinking mindset and some have already reaped the benefits of their fast integration. Such is the case of Konica Minolta Bulgaria.

Back in 2014, Konica Minolta Inc. announced its decision to transform from a printing service provider to a connecting people and technology for a successful digital workplace provider. Moving from product to service is a major step up for any company and it was clear that Konica was ready to embark on a trip to new ways of delivering value to the world. That meant new brand positioning, new offerings and new processes, but most importantly - a new corporate culture for all Konica’s units around the world. For the Bulgarian division this too meant redesign: How to translate these changes to employees? How could they reflect it? And most importantly - how could Konica Minolta Bulgaria adopt a more innovative and customer-centered approach for delivering end-to-end experiences for clients?

This is where Elena Drecheva, Executive Director of Konica Minolta Bulgaria, came into contact with Elina Zheleva, the Director of launchlabs Sofia. After a few co-creation meetings, launchlabs was selected among others to design and deliver a practical innovation program that would engage Konica Minolta’s leadership and workforce. The goal of the program was to create in-house champions of customer centricity and innovation who can successfully lead in-house service design and innovation projects.

What followed was a two-fold approach: introduction training on the main principles of design thinking, customer research and innovation sprints, followed by project-based coaching with a series of short facilitated workshops. The projects were chosen to address directly the challenges in front of Konica Minolta – market differentiation and client transition to new offerings. More than 100 innovative ideas for improved market differentiation and improved client lifecycle were developed during this “learning” phase. All of them based on actual customer interviews and insights.

Positive feedback was abundant.

“What really stood out in our collaboration was that people could see real tangible results following the training sessions. launchlabs’ team managed to build a true relationship with all the participants in the program and help them successfully grow in their role as innovation ambassadors.”, Elena Drecheva points out.

A substantially contributing factor to their success was the fast pace at which the team had to put into practice what they had just learned. As it happened, Konica Minolta Bulgaria was looking for a new showroom at that time. Implementing what was learned from the workshops with launchlabs Sofia, one of the teams conducted a customer and employee research. The findings informed the prototype for a new green-themed showroom, called Nature hall, in accordance with the Konica Minolta Inc.’s ever-evolving CSR Policy of a green company. The Nature hall was an epitome of the sustainable office - an environment filled with greenery, ambient sounds such as bird calls, pleasing natural fragrances and a special daylight-filled corner. But besides all the significant interior changes, the new showroom offered a functionally better experience to Konica Minolta's customers. This turned it into a successful and very important channel to showcase the transformation of the company and its new services. Unsurprisingly, customer feedback for the Nature hall was filled with positivity.

Customer feedback also informed Konica Minolta Bulgaria on the needs and behavior of their target client. The team created a new client persona - an archetype of their customer base. Sharply focused by the newly-built persona, Elena Drecheva and her team successfully optimized the overall process of introducing its existing customers to its newest portfolio, turning it into an effective, efficient and pleasant customer experience. 

What is more, the company was able to expand its portfolio and really stand out not only as a pioneer, but as an agile business that has learned to listen to its customers. And just like that, they created new ventures like getting their logistics partner to offer Konica Minolta Bulgaria’s services directly to its external clients. Many similar successes followed from there on.

Currently, Elena Drecheva and her team radiate confidence about the pandemic’s situation. Elena says that owing to the numerous productive habits that she and her team formed after the workshops - to be open to iterate, make a solid research and truly listen to the client - the uncertainty and inconclusiveness fade.

“By researching, prototyping and testing, we can see what works at a much faster pace.”

By all means, stellar success only comes after escaping the fall back into hardwired habits. If initial enthusiasm right after the workshops is not rekindled by motivating deliberate instrument implementation, people will tend to go back to the comfort zone. Elena and Elina are very mindful about this and both have invested in various activities to stimulate the people inside Konica Minolta to continue their journey.

“When the will to change is authentic, it is our responsibility as a business redesign partner to support the companies even when the official work is done. And Konica Minolta Bulgaria have demonstrated that they truly want to apply a more holistic and human-centered approach to create meaningful and sustainable innovation.”, says Elina. For this reason, launchlabs Sofia will always be available to lend a helping hand to Konica Minolta Bulgaria on spreading the redesign spirit across the company.

It is spectacular to see how people reinvent themselves at the workplace and how through this, a whole company like Konica Minolta, is redesigned from a hardware supplier to an agent of digital transformation.”, ends the story Elina.


Written by launchlabs’ Sofia team