The 5 Tips for Company-Wide Immersive Technology Buy-In
So you’ve just come back from a trade show and learned about the latest and greatest immersive technology on the market, and now you’re 100% convinced that this is the future. That’s great, there’s only one problem now. You were the only person from your team at this conference, and now you need to go and convince the rest of your company as to why this is worth pursuing. Only now you don’t have that shiny sales pitch the person at the booth gave you, so what do you do?
If this sounds familiar, then I hope this can be helpful to you, as I’ll provide a few examples I’ve found useful in trying to get company-wide buy-in with various immersive technologies. Speaking from experience, Petricore has undergone a change in focus from a more standard software development agency, to one focused on immersive and emerging technologies. I’d like to share some tips I’ve found helpful with that effort.
Tip 1 – Start with Why
Somehow the most obvious and easiest to forget, explaining the why to your team has to be your first focus. Why is this technology going to change the world? Why should we focus our time and energy learning and working in it? Why should I, as a person, care about this? Why should we, as a company, care about this?
This will be your first test to help you identify if that pitch you received was good enough to clearly explain to the team. Perhaps the word soup of tech jargon you got at the conference, that was oh so convincing at the time, doesn’t quite hold up to your more technically savvy team members. You should be able to clearly explain to your company why this technology is worth your company’s time, your team’s time, and your customers time.
I’ve found that this “exercise in why” can also be a great way to get the team involved early, as you don’t need to be the only one thinking about this. Bring the team into a meeting and consider conducting a SWOT Analysis as a company discussing the technology in question. If as a group you can collectively determine a why, that will be stronger, better verified, and come with greater team buy-in right away. This also transitions well into my next tip, which is…
Tip 2 – Get Everyone Involved
You’ve found your cool new immersive technology, and you managed to get your CTO excited about it, nice! That’s a good first step, but your work doesn’t end in convincing someone who loves technology to look at technology. You need to ensure that you have company-wide buy-in. That means everyone including the people who are not as tech savvy, or may not be following some of the latest trends as your tech team is.
One of the best places to start is getting everyone to start looking at some of these trends as a group, which we did by gradually sharing articles internally, and then expanding to having team-wide sharing of articles. To start, I made sure to find at least one article about something interesting in immersive technology and share it with the team via our internal slack, where everyone could see it. Other people on the team also did similar, and we started to have a fairly active knowledge sharing and discussion each day around various immersive technology topics.
That won’t necessarily get everyone engaged though, so my next step was a little more “homework” focused where once a week in our weekly all-hands meeting, each person needed to find and bring one article to discuss focused on immersive technology. Yes, I did show and tell. Now, we have everyone looking at immersive tech trends, for at least a few minutes each week (which is sometimes all you need.) Over time, you’ll be able to identify trends in what people talk about, and where company-wide interest lies.
Another option could be to do a debate, and have one person for, and another against a given technology. Give them time to compile their arguments, and then hold a company-wide debate where the positives and negatives of a given technology are discussed. Best of all, you don’t need to pick a winner, as just having this kind of discussion as a team is a win for everyone involved. In talking about the technology from all sides, you can make more informed decisions about it. However, talking about it can only get you so far, which brings me to my next tip.
Tip 3 – Play with all this Technology
Take some time to play with this technology! Get it in everyone’s hands (or face) to let them play around with demos, and see how it actually works in person. If all you’re looking at are the highly produced and edited marketing videos on this technologies website, and you’re working in immersive technology, then you might be in for a little disappointment when you finally give it a try. The best way for the team to really understand how this technology works is to get everyone using it, and focus on what it does well and where it can be improved.
Carve out some time to sit as a group and give it a try, and discuss what you’re seeing that excites you, and what doesn’t. If you can get everyone on the team to give it a try, and still come out convinced it’s worth investing further in, then you’re very close to company-wide buy-in. And getting engagement company-wide means everyone, so another way to do that is…
Tip 4 – Encouragement & Rewards
Make sure you’re finding a way to encourage your team to engage with immersive technology, and rewarding people who are. If you have people on your team who are really excited about engaging with immersive technology, help make it easier for them to do so. This can be done with a variety of programs, like offering stipends or time for professional development.
Share information about opportunities for outside development, and encourage your team to do the same. If you have people in your company who want time to attend a conference, or take part in a hackathon, then you should strongly consider providing them with that paid time “off” separate from their vacation balance. Make it easy for people in your organization to want to do this, and encourage them to share what they learn with the team. If you have people who might not be as interested in attending outside events, internally holding a lunch and learn will always get people to show up for free food.
Likewise offering stipends to help pay for lessons, or technology can also be a great way to encourage company-wide participation in the technology. After all, if you want company wide buy-in then you should be buy-in your team some resources to use. See what I did there? Since I can’t hear your groan through the internet at that joke, I’ll just promise you that we’re almost done.
Tip 5 – Listen & Keep an Open Mind
Okay, so this is the last tip, but I think it’s probably the most important. When working with immersive technology we’re continually bombarded with fortune-telling levels of predictions and speculations of windfalls and riches to come to all who develop with x, y or z. Some of those people will be wrong, in fact most of them will be. It’s your job as a company to be looking at everything with some level of skepticism to balance out your excitement.
No one in your company will respond well to a horse blinders style goal that discourages anyone telling you why this is a bad idea. If people are concerned, you need to encourage them to share why, and have an open and frank discussion about it. Maybe you can convince them otherwise, but also maybe they can convince you to reevaluate. If you’re going to have company-wide buy-in to immersive technology, it needs to be built on a bedrock of discussion and trust.
It’s also worth noting that technology changes very quickly, and new technologies come and go seemingly daily. You need to be having these discussions and evaluations on a regular basis as a company. What was a great opportunity last year might have some healthy competition now, and there might be better options for you to evaluate.
I hope you found this helpful as you look at immersive technologies in your organization, and how to get everyone at your company on board. I’ll close this with a final note that you can try all these things and more, and still might not be able to get full company buy-in. That’s okay, and you’re not a failure.
Everyone sees the world in a different lens, and is motivated by different things. You may have some people who are dreaming of our AI enabled Self Driving Cars living-on-the-Moon future, and others who want to just read their print newspaper in peace. Or maybe you have people who like a little of both. Either way, expect that some might not want to follow you on this immersive technology journey, and that’s okay. Because having buy-in isn’t you trying to convince everyone, it’s having an environment where everyone is able to decide for themselves.