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Francesca Lagerberg Francesca Lagerberg

Francesca Lagerberg explains the Grant Thornton Global Jam

Crowdsourcing is not a new concept. I see it as the guiding principle underpinning democracy; the wisdom of the crowds pick a better leader than any individual could (we hope!) But what about using crowdsourcing to develop business strategy?

As I write this post, we are halfway through the Grant Thornton Global Jam, an online collaboration event managed by IBM, which brings together our people from across the world for three days to discuss what the future of our organisation could and should be. We are one of the (if not the) first professional services firms to develop our global strategy in this way.

It is daunting and exciting in equal measure: more than one in three of our 39,000 people worldwide have registered and participation has been an impressive 50%. The online format of the Jam represents a true flattening of our structure. It is a chance for our freshest graduate to exchange ideas with our global CEO on what we, as a business, should be focusing on; to discuss where the opportunities lie for us to unlock the growth potential of our clients, people and communities. During the discussions I have led on the future of tax and retaining our key people I have engaged with colleagues in a wide broad range of roles from all over the globe. And guests from outside the organisation are joining us too, all primed to give their perspective on how we should innovate, develop and grow.

This is an opportunity to harness the collective, creative talent of our greatest asset: our people. We have so many bright minds in the 130 countries in which we operate that it now almost seems remiss of us not to have tapped into this rich resource before. Of course it is not an easy thing to achieve. There are many challenges, not least that the Jam is conducted primarily in English. However our people in places such as China, Japan and Latin America have organised ‘war-rooms’ where they collaborate locally, leaving the comment posting to a designated (English-speaking) scribe. This is important: the best ideas will resonate the world over.

As the fastest expanding global accountancy organisation over recent years we know all about change but this is dramatically different; a new way of planning for the future. At this stage nobody knows exactly what gems we will glean from the hundreds of conversations going on simultaneously. But what I have seen during the first half of the Jam bodes well and I cannot wait to get stuck into the results.

Francesca Lagerberg is global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton

To learn more about Collaborative Innovation go to https://www.collaborationjam.com/. Or to follow the discussion on Twitter use #GTJam14