Designing for change: From mere participation to transformative involvement


The key to successful transformation lies in involving people in the change process. But what does it really take to move from mere participation to truly transformative involvement? In this article, Howspace’s Co-Founder and CEO Ilkka Mäkitalo will take us through the philosophy behind the platform and how the renewed Howspace will set a new standard for involvement.

Designing with purpose

“At Howspace, we’re driven by the understanding that our platform might be or become someone’s most essential daily tool,” Ilkka begins. The emphasis is on intuitive design, ensuring that everything from previously created content to basic features is easily accessible. 

“Considering users might spend hours in Howspace, we need to focus on every detail,” Ilkka adds, highlighting the responsibility of building a platform that truly supports users’ work. At the heart of this support is enabling true involvement and active engagement among users. This means making everyday work easier and creating a dynamic space where every interaction encourages participation and collaboration. We believe that this type of involvement transforms everyday work into a more connected and engaging experience for everyone involved.

A toolbox for transformation

Transformation journeys are often multifaceted, so several tools are needed to support the different stages and processes. Howspace aims to provide an end-to-end toolbox for this journey. “Our goal is to facilitate transformative involvement, offering a diverse set of features that cater to all aspects of change,” Ilkka explains. This diversity combined with a logical product hierarchy and contextual functionality, ensures users find what they need without unnecessary complexity.

A new approach to platform design

Unlike other platforms that prioritize tool structure, Howspace focuses on process structure. “This means the platform, especially for participants, stays in the background, making the process, not the tool, the star”, Ilkka points out. This approach enables a smoother, more engaging user experience, allowing the platform to support rather than dictate the flow of work.

Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all approach, Howspace equips admin and facilitators with the means to design and build customized processes tailored to their specific needs and goals. This flexibility ensures that the platform adapts to the workflow rather than imposing a rigid, ready-made structure. 

With Howspace, the facilitator can craft a journey specifically designed for their audience, utilizing features and functionalities in a way that improves engagement and learning without the technology becoming a distraction. This approach makes for a smoother and more engaging user experience.

The importance of transformative involvement

Transformative involvement, where design and implementation merge seamlessly, is essential for organizational success. “Howspace serves as a bridge between designing and implementing transformative processes, supporting events and training as part of a cohesive whole,” says Ilkka. This integration ensures that transformative efforts are not fragmented but are experienced as a unified journey.

Challenges in traditional involvement

Reflecting on traditional involvement methods, Ilkka notes a common issue: the tendency to view participation as mere input collection rather than genuine dialogue. “True involvement comes from dialogue, iteration, and shared sense-making,” Ilkka argues. He describes that Howspace is advocating for a methodology that empowers all participants to contribute meaningfully to the conversation in opposition to answering questions and giving input.

Enabling meaningful dialogue

A platform must allow for diverse conversational structures for change management to be truly participative. “Howspace enables hundreds of different structures for conversation, reflecting the dynamic nature of dialogue in the real world”, Ilkka notes. This flexibility facilitates meaningful exchanges and ensures all voices are heard.

Looking ahead: The new Howspace

The soon-to-be-launched new Howspace platform builds on these principles, introducing features and functionalities that improve efficiency and customization. “From AI-assisted content creation to simplified editing, the new Howspace is about making involvement easier and more impactful,” Ilkka shares. These improvements aim to streamline the building of processes, enabling even more agile and responsive transformation efforts.

Beyond the technical: building connection

Ultimately, transformation is about more than just facts and processes; it’s about people. “We’re focusing on the mental and relational aspects of involvement, building a culture that supports meaningful change and helps organizations to develop their transformation capabilities,” Ilkka concludes. The new Howspace platform facilitates transformation and nurtures connections and shared understanding that make lasting change possible.

To those ready to dive deeper into facilitating transformation and shaping the future of organizational change, we invite you to join our free virtual course, “Facilitating Transformation: From Theory to Practice”. Read more and sign up through the link below.

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