Case Studies

Six countries in six weeks:
GroupSupport has determined the requirements for a new global customer interaction website in conjunction with Aon, an international insurance broker. GroupSupport.com has physically executed this project in six different countries, namely The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Australia.

Virtual consultation with 360 managers:
The case described is a virtual consultation of 360 Rabobank managers. Instead of meeting each other physically, these managers met via the Internet.

Electronic Debate with Citizens in Denmark:
The issue the North Jutland County Council was facing the fact that many smaller wind turbines built in the 1980s need to be replaced by fewer, bigger and more efficient wind turbines in North Jutland. The County Council wanted to have a citizen debate about the reconstruction of the wind turbines in respect of how many and their location.

Six countries in Six weeks

The Aon project: six countries in six weeks

GroupSupport has determined the requirements for a new global customer interaction website in conjunction with Aon, an international insurance broker. On this website customers as well as account managers have an overview of all current and mutual important topics. What the website might contain are subjects such as an overview of outstanding claims, the latest personalized news, all outstanding customer projects and a digital document centre containing all relevant information.

In cooperation with Aon GroupSupport.com has designed a process wherein local employees as well as their customers determined their most valuable requirements for this website. GroupSupport.com has physically executed this project in six different countries, namely The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Australia.

Within six weeks GroupSupport.com made a complete international scan with a certain depth that would have cost significantly more time and effort with any alternative approach. By using the electronic meeting system the decision making process was democratized and there was full commitment to the outcome.

In the project evaluation it appeared that Aon could distinguish itself internally as well as with its participating customers.

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Virtual consultation with 360 mangers

Rabobank, a large Dutch bank, has a different organizational structure than other banks of the same size. The Rabobank has no shareholders demanding a share of its profits. Instead it has members, clients who want to participate actively in shaping the policy of the bank in their area and who have an interest in the way it functions. The entire Rabobank Group is a democratically structure with local banks having a say in its domestic and international policy.
Because of the numbers of local banks (>360 at the time of the virtual consultation) it takes too much time to get the Managing Directors of the local banks together for decision-making (according to the managers themselves). Instead of calling all local banks together for policy and decision-making, a virtual Consultation process has been set up. The goal of the process is to save lead-time and to make the decision making process transparent.

The pilot project used a Consultation process developed by GroupSupport in cooperation with Rabobank. The process is divided into four rounds.

The process is initiated by the Rabobank. They have written a proposition for mortgage handling. An editorial staff that judges this proposition adds their findings. The participants are notified about the proposition and the decision process it follows. The proposition is divided in sections and published on the website where only the participants have access to.

In Round 1 the groups are invited to a virtual discussion, which is partially synchronous and partially asynchronous. The groups give their comments on the proposition in the discussion. The comments are made per section of the proposition.

After the discussion closes the comments are gathered by GroupSupport and send to the editorial staff. The editorial staff goes through the comments and selects the most important comments per section. The comments are rewritten and divided into positive, negative and neutral comments. A positive comment indicates in favor of the proposition while a negative one is against the proposition. These comments are published on the web. This is the end of round 1.

In round 2 the groups are invited to fill out a survey. All participants select two comments per section of the proposition. The editorial staff receives the results of the survey and interprets the results. They are able to see if a participant is in favor, against or neutral towards the proposition and has therefore a view of the final result of the virtual Consultation.

The editorial staff rewrites the proposition according to the results of the survey. The new proposition is published on the web. This is the end of round 2.

In round 3 the groups are invited to give their opinion per section of the new proposition. The opinion per section is measured on a four points scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree) in a survey. There is also the possibility to make two final comments on the proposition.
 
The editorial staff has now a clear view of the participants’ opinion of the proposition. The editorial staff writes the final proposition according the results of the survey. The final proposition is published on the web. This is the end of round 3.

In round 4 the groups are invited to the last activity in the process. Each participant gives a yes or no vote on the proposition. The result of the vote is published on the web. When the proposition is approved it is implemented.

Feedback from the Rabobank:

  • The virtual consultation is an excellent tool for decision making within the Rabobank
  • It shortens the lead-time of decision making, makes decision making more transparent and therefore more commitment to the decision.

Electronic Debate with Citizen in Denmark

North Jutland County in Denmark has 500,000 inhabitants and the regional environmental responsibility of an area of 6,200 square kilometers. The issue the County Council was facing was the fact that many smaller wind turbines built in the 1980s need to be replaced by fewer, bigger and more efficient wind turbines in North Jutland. The County Council wanted to have a citizen debate about the reconstruction of the wind turbines in respect of how many and their location.

At traditional citizen debates it is usual that only few talk. Often it is the educated, confident or complaining people that use most of the time to speak, while most of the participants remain passive. It is also difficult to get the right target group to attend this kind of meetings. North Jutland County Council wished that ordinary citizens, politicians and people from non-governmental organizations participated.
The solution was an electronic citizen debate instead of a traditional meeting. By choosing this solution North Jutland County Council obtained a wider and more differentiated debate. Also the participants had the opportunity to participate from home or from their workplace, when they had time and felt like writing.

The County Council advertised for 15 citizens in a newspaper and many applied. Beside the 15 citizens there were 10 politicians and 5 from non-governmental organizations. A total of 30 participants were involved.

For the electronic citizen debate GroupSystems Online was chosen as it made it possible to have the meeting online via the internet and spread out over a few days. All participants received an e-mail with guidance to the electronic citizen debate well before the meeting. All worked anonymously and could participate anytime during the 2 days the meeting lasted.

Afterwards the press wrote: "Success in cyber debate. North Jutland County Council had success with internet debate meeting, where politicians and citizens discuss the county´s reconstruction of windmills". During 2 days the participants wrote more than 25 pages with topics and comments on the debate.

The participants said:
- "This type of debate form is excellent, lets have some more of them in the future."
- "The idea is good - this is a new and exciting way to state ones opinion."
- "The debate form is good and it gives all the possibility to ´speak´ at all the items on the agenda."