Creating a virtual team headquarters to support strategic transformation

Abstract image of cursors interacting with sticky notes
SITUATION

Shaping the future of work

For more than 70 years, Jacobs has been solving the world’s most critical problems, transforming intangible ideas into innovative solutions. With $14 billion in annual revenue and a talent force of approximately 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of solutions for energy, defense, infrastructure, cities, health, advanced manufacturing, and space and national security.

When chair and CEO Steve Demetriou joined the company in 2015, he had a vision for building a culture of innovation, accountability, inclusion, and continuous learning, and he set that in motion with Jacobs’ 2016–2019 corporate strategy.

Then, in October 2020, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs entered a new phase of strategic transformation with expected benefits of $200 million. Called Focus 2023, the program is accelerating the adoption of digital technology across the organization and pioneering new ways of working.

With Focus 2023, we’re on a mission to create seamless, connected systems and create efficiencies for how our people work. That way, our teams can invest more resources into innovating and driving value for our clients.

Focus 2023 SVP & Program Lead
Focus 2023 SVP & Program Lead
 | 
Jacobs
CHALLENGE

How might we create a virtual team headquarters?

When kicking off a new initiative, the Jacobs Transformation team typically works out of a project room with whiteboards, sticky notes, and all the materials they need to strategize and execute on the initiative. This time around, the pandemic made in-person collaboration impossible. Fortunately, Jacobs’ digital transformation effort was already well under way — so the pandemic became a forcing function to accelerate that work.

“The question was, how do we recreate that space in a virtual environment?” said Bo Storozuk, a strategic learning and talent management consultant who also co-leads the facilitation community of practice at Jacobs. In other words, how could they create a virtual team headquarters, or a collaboration hub?

To solve this challenge, Jacobs needed a way to:

Collaborate and innovate from anywhere

Without a space to collaborate visually, the team had no way to facilitate their usual activities and meetings. They needed a solution that would allow their globally distributed team to brainstorm, strategize, and plan together — both asynchronously and in real time.

Drive alignment with easy-to-find resources

Resources were scattered across multiple platforms. To eliminate confusion and improve alignment, Jacobs needed a single source of truth where they could quickly and easily access the latest software, files, docs, org charts, and training materials.

Engage collaborators and stakeholders

They needed an engaging, approachable, and inclusive way to communicate. Clunky slide decks, long email chains, and unscalable video calls wouldn’t cut it.

With everyone working remotely, it’s so important to stay connected. We wanted to create a virtual space that feels welcoming and useful — something authentic and organic that people actually want to use.

Heather Byrd
Heather Byrd
VP Marketing, Communications & Brand, Critical Mission Solutions
 | 
Jacobs

Essentially, before the Focus 2023 team could continue to transform the company, they would have to transform the way they worked together.

Two people sitting at a table and working together on a laptop
SOLUTION

Collaborating from anywhere with MURAL

With its flexibility, ease of use, and ability to scale for the enterprise, MURAL was uniquely positioned to help Jacobs transform the way they work together. Not only did the Transformation team use MURAL to create a collaboration hub for Focus 2023, but teams across the company also use MURAL to facilitate more fun, productive meetings and workshops. Here’s how.

Asynchronous communication

Focus 2023 is a massive undertaking that involves hundreds of collaborators located around the globe, and the virtual project room is the heart of it all. Building the space in MURAL allows everyone, including team members who are onboarding, to easily access the latest information on their own time without digging through various folders, apps, and documents.

Engaging meetings and workshops

The Transformation team is one of many at Jacobs that uses MURAL to collaborate visually during meetings and workshops. “Rather than using a slide deck, our entire meeting takes place in a mural. That way, everyone has the opportunity to contribute, and we have a living record of the meeting,” explained Sabrina Becker, global director of TogetherBeyond, Jacobs Inclusion Program, and a key member of Focus 2023.

Templates

Teams at Jacobs leverage MURAL’s 300+ templates to make meetings more efficient and engaging. Templates help them structure their meetings, facilitate them more effectively, and stay aligned afterward.

Partners in transformation

MURAL offers ongoing support from dedicated success architects and other in-house experts who offer expertise on collaboration design and facilitation. “Meagan at MURAL has been critical in our transformation,” explained Bo. “She has helped us map out trainings, hosted ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions, and supported us in creating a strategic plan to drive maximum adoption.”

We would not have been able to deliver everything that we have without MURAL. Having a virtual collaboration space is invaluable in this remote working environment.

Focus 2023 SVP & Program Lead
Focus 2023 SVP & Program Lead
 | 
Jacobs
IMPACT

Results

“MURAL has completely transformed the way we facilitate for groups both virtually and in-person. Having a living, digital record of the experience and outcomes of the session not only saves incredible amounts of time from transcribing live sticky notes and whiteboards, but it gives participants the opportunity to revisit whenever they need, work asynchronously, and reflect and process on their own time.” 

-Bo Storozuk, Strategic Learning & Talent Management Consultant, Jacobs

Time and money saved

  • Reduced travel costs by thousands of dollars per workshop
  • Eliminated time spent traveling, freeing up 1 to 2 days per person for each workshop
  • Drove greater efficiency in transcribing workshop and meeting notes
  • Resulted in faster onboarding for hundreds of Focus 2023 team members 

Higher employee engagement

  • Improved engagement in meetings compared to video-only calls
  • Increased collaboration among Jacobs employees broke down silos and streamlined workflows

Culture of inclusivity

MURAL levels the playing field during meetings by accommodating different types of collaborators and thinkers and allowing everyone’s voice to be heard.

MURAL enhances our ability to create a safe space for people to collaborate and contribute, whether they’re introverted or extroverted, in person or remote. Meetings are more engaging and inclusive, and ultimately, diverse perspectives lead to more innovative, impactful solutions.

Bo Storozuk
Bo Storozuk
Strategic Learning & Talent Management Consultant
 | 
Jacobs
LESSONS LEARNED

Key takeaways for Transformation teams

Implementing new technologies, processes, and ways of working is never easy. As with any transformation, the Jacobs team faced challenges along the way. Here are some lessons they learned while building out the collaboration hub and collaborating in their MURAL workspace.

Give collaborators a reason to care. It takes time for teams to adapt to new practices and platforms — including moving their collaboration hub to a virtual space. By communicating the “why” behind the transformation, including how it will impact and benefit the team, leadership can encourage buy-in and increase adoption. Leadership must consistently reinforce the importance of these changes to encourage a culture that is more transparent, collaborative, and innovative. It's also important that leadership “walk the talk” by adopting MURAL as well.

Start small when introducing new technology. The Jacobs team didn’t expect everyone to use the MURAL platform for every meeting and initiative overnight. They transitioned to MURAL by having a core group of people who facilitated meetings with MURAL — starting with brainstorming on virtual sticky notes and building the team’s competencies from there.

Build community around new initiatives and products. Be intentional about fostering community and connection when embarking on a new initiative or adopting new technology. Leverage internal champions who will lead by example, and create space for teams to share resources and solve challenges together.

Appoint a “Keeper of the Hub.” The collaboration hub is only as valuable as the content within it. Make sure there’s one person or function responsible for keeping the virtual space up to date, useful, and engaging.

TAKE ACTION

Collaboration Hub template

A key piece of the Jacobs Transformation Office’s success is their virtual collaboration hub, the digital command center for all things related to Focus 2023. Use this drag-and-drop template to create your own virtual HQ for a team or project, and experience for yourself how MURAL can help your team stay aligned, be more inclusive, and innovate from anywhere.

Get the template.

Screenshot of the Collaboration Hub template with space to provide information about your team
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