Broadening the vision of a new head office through co-design

“The co-design approach stimulated questioning, provided a safe environment to express apprehensions and explore unknowns related to our new headquarters, while facilitating participant capacity to imagine workspaces and alternative ways of collaboration.” 

Jacqueline  Donaz

Directrice générale adjointe aux Ressources

Grenoble-Alpes Métropole

A territorial government in constant change

Further to numerous changes as part of its transition in becoming a Métropole, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole decided to group the majority of its administrative staff on one site, requiring new headquarters.[1] However, the building project symbolised far more than just relocating staff.

As a result, the territorial authorities wanted to support its staff in taking ownership and implementing the changes. To ensure that employee needs were addressed, they decided to develop the change management plan using the co-design approach proposed by Make Tracks.

More than just new headquarters

Following the initial phase to analyse the project’s context, we facilitated a one-and-a-half-day collaborative workshop to identify the actions to be included in the change management plan. The initial step was to co-design the workshop with the project sponsors. As a facilitated process, co-design ensured not only the refinement of the workshop objectives, but a greater sense of purpose and ownership of the transformation. The result was a broadening of the initial vision for the project beyond the physical needs of new headquarters.

As such, the sponsors decided that the workshop needed to address: how people would work together in a redefined space; the challenges of working cross-functionally and; managerial approaches adapted to the new environment.

Authoring the solution

About fifty people from diverse backgrounds participated in the off-site collaborative workshop. By bringing together representatives from different divisions and employment categories, we were able to leverage different perspectives to feed the exploration of new possibilities and experience a new way of working together. By immersing themselves in a small-scale reproduction of future workspaces, the participants imagined the impact of these spaces on their way of working, which enabled them to identify the accompanying actions that would meet their needs.

From lassitude to agency

Although a general feeling of lassitude prevailed prior to the workshop, and the project in question raised concerns, the participants were ‘pleasantly surprised’ that they were able to speak freely as a part of a meaningful workshop process. Their input was also taken seriously and project sponsors followed through on their engagement by presenting the management plan publicly.

The change management plan has also laid the groundwork for greater transformation; prior to launching the support projects included in the plan, a small group formed internally and decided to expand the scope of the plan’s actions. A seed has been sewn, and a new vitality is emerging…

Project realised in collaboration with Akivi Consulting

[1] A ‘Métropole’ is one form of territorial government in France.

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