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How to create a seamless workflow?

Seamless workflow and social systems learning are the least appreciated success markers in projects and innovation partnerships. This is one of the conclusions from a perception survey among four hundred participants in various sectors and disciplines. This survey is conducted by Ruysdael as part of a research project for stimulating human success factors in innovation. 

Summary results

Using the Ruysdael Success Factor Scan, four hundred participants scored thrityfive success markers in seven categories: working in a shared context, co-creation, shared leadership, interpersonal communication, knowledge transfer, team adaptivity and authentic action. All of these human factors were perceived as sufficient, but three factors were identified as leverage factors: Learning & Knowledge transfer, Co-creation and shared Leadership.

The logic for these leverage factors is the following: Social learning is the blind spot. There is too little time and attention for learning events that create coherence or insight in dependencies and underlying systems patterns. This leads to a low degree of anticipation, both at the individual level and at the team level. Low degrees of anticipation are associated with the “fire-fighting attitude”. This attitude and the absence of a coherent ‘big picture” limits the alignment of activities at a group level causing an irregular workflow. The absence of coherence or insight in dependencies also blurs the focus in collective decision-making.

Below you’ll find a detailed overview of the “markers for success” that were measured in de survey.


Participants worked in projects and innovation partnerships in various organizations such as: APG Pension provider, ASML, Cardea, Cofely-gdfsuez, Enexis Energy, Ericsson telecommunications, several local government organisations, HTM public transport, KPN telecommunications, Leiden University Medical Center, several central Governmental organizations, Nedtrain maintenance organization, NS Travellers, Partnerships and inter-organizational teams in various sectors, Radboud University, Tilburg University, VGZ Health Insurance, Vitens Water supply company and several social housing entities.


This research and the seven human success factors are based on the Ruysdael framework for sustainable innovation. Please contact Ruysdael for more information about instruments and interventions for innovation, change and continuous improvement.

Results perception survey

Shared context

A shared context, a coherent and shared ‘big picture’ of deliverables and approach, stimulates co-creation and the willingness to participate.

  • 1 in 3 people feels unable to translate the big picture into the individual task.
  • 35% lacks a clear view on interdependencies (people/information/actions
  • 80% feels motivated because the results matter.
  • 50% experience a shared and common view on results and approach


Working in an interdependent flow fuels generative and innovative teams.

  • 50% does not experience a natural flow of activities.
  • 40% lacks proactive alignment of actions
  • 40% says to be are aware of the working experience of others.
  • 40% easily teams up to improve their individual work.

Shared leadership

Shared leadership, feeling empowered to engage, is one of the key factors for achieving an integrated and sustainable outcome.

  • 40% sees a lack of initiative in their environment.
  • 1 in 3 people says they need a stronger group focus on priorities.
  • 50% feels empowered to take initiative.
  • 1 in 3 people facilitate social interaction.


High quality interpersonal communication creates a common and practical frame of reference. It decreases the chance of rework.

  • 50% feels that we give different meaning to important information.
  • 1 in 3 people says that empathy in teams needs improvement.
  • 70% says they are willing to openly share information.
  • 40% experiences mutual understanding.

Knowledge transfer

Team learning, transferring knowledge about dependencies and the root cause of problems, increases the collective ability to anticipate to future events.

  • 55% is not satisfied about the evaluation and improvement of their own work.
  • 1 in 2 people feels that collective learning events are insufficient.
  • 50% feels they use the experience of others.
  • 1 in 3 people says they continuously learn in order to anticipate to future events.

Team adaptivity

A healthy interaction between people facilitates team adaptivity and its ability to change underlying systems, structures, feelings and mindset.

  • 40% experiences too much management, planning & control. 
  • 2 in 5 people feels an imbalance between expectations and reality.
  • 50% says that the team is flexible enough.
  • 1 in 3 people feels energized by the interaction in the team.

Authentic action

Motivation increases when we focus on how our actions connect to and contribute to the bigger business ecosystem that we are a part of.

  • 1 in 3 people feels personal and collective values are not aligned.
  • 35% says personal priorities are insufficiently aligned with common goals.
  • 55% is aware of how personal work contributes to the overall results.
  • 50% feels that team decisions are made with the bigger picture in mind.


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