Innovation @ Copperleaf: Building an Innovative Organization at Scale

September 7, 2021 Gabriel Lessard-Kragen

Throughout this blog series, we’ve been exploring how Copperleaf delivers value to clients by solving new and impactful problems. In previous articles, we dove into how we gather inputs, optimize our roadmap, and co-develop solutions in Copperleaf Labs to drive results for our client community. In this post, we’re going to take a step back and look at a critical component of innovating at scale—the concept of team empowerment.

It’s no secret that teams are more effective and productive than individuals. Anyone who has been part of a collaborative team aligned on a shared goal knows the euphoric feeling of jumping from success to success and solving problems in the process. At Copperleaf, we believe teams need the right ingredients, context, and trust to be successful—and ultimately deliver value to clients. Let’s unpack each of these components:

Ingredients

Every successful team needs to assemble the right people and skills for the challenge at hand. At Copperleaf, we have a fluid ecosystem of teams. As problems emerge, we look for the right cross-functional skillsets within the company and form new teams to tackle them. For example, do we need architectural expertise, domain knowledge, visualization mastery, database management, or other expertise to solve the problem? These cross-functional teams are typically focused on solving client challenges, but they can also address a variety of business needs, such as improving internal processes or even navigating partnerships. Once the problem has been solved, the team moves onto the next problem to tackle—and sometimes teams are reconfigured depending on the challenge.

Context

Once a team has been formed with the right ingredients, context is crucial. The team must agree on the overarching goal. Once the goal is established, the team begins discovery to expand their understanding of the problem. We firmly believe that the more context provided to the team, the more productive and innovative they will be in solving the problem!

Trust

Once the team begins developing solutions for the problem at hand, trust is vital for them to be successful. This means that we trust the team to:

  • iterate effectively, taking calculated risks
  • make some mistakes along the way, but also learn and improve from them
  • ultimately produce the best solution for the client and Copperleaf

This process is known as empowerment. We empower our teams to make their own decisions alongside their stakeholders. Equally important, we try not to force them into a particular approach or method because every team works in different, nuanced ways, and we believe this diversity is key to delivering the best results. For more details on trust and empowerment, there are many excellent references in the product thought-leadership community.

In summary, to innovate at scale across multiple industry sectors and regions, you need your teams to have the right ingredients, context, and trust to be successful. As Copperleaf grows, we will continue to nurture an atmosphere of innovation, empowerment, and collaboration, both amongst ourselves and with our clients and partners. We’re always looking for ways we can improve, but that’s what makes it so much fun!

If working in empowered teams to solve real-world challenges is as exciting to you as it is to us, please visit copperleaf.com/careers to learn more.

If you’d like to explore collaborating with us in our Copperleaf Labs program, please contact us at labs@copperleaf.com.

About the Author

Gabriel Lessard-Kragen

Gabriel is the Director of Product Management for Copperleaf. He is responsible for setting the direction and strategy of the company's growing enterprise product suite.

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