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The right digital tools to maximize workplace innovation

This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at

The sun has set on the office cubicle, giving rise to a more inspired era of working as humans were intended: together. Whether in person or and virtually connected, today's workers are enabled by state-of-the-art, digital collaboration spaces and tools that encourage teamwork and innovative thinking.

The transition hasn't been simple. At Accenture, our complex, mobile workforce, serving five lines of business accelerated change: Daily, we must connect 384,000 employees around the world on one global, intelligent network. And by embracing technology advances ahead of most organizations, we are now immersed in a fully digital environment that drives high-performing teams. As a result, the foundation of our workplace strategy is technology – how digital drives our business today, and in the future.

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For many years, the practice of work has been rapidly evolving – transforming how, when, and where we collaborate across teams, and with clients. Technology has changed almost every aspect of our lives in the past decade, and it's difficult to imagine our lives without it, particularly when it comes to the workplace. I certainly don't miss seeing stacks of paper everywhere.

But which tools are the right ones, and how do we implement them as part of a cohesive workplace strategy that makes sense for everyone?

Our strategy goes well beyond having a smartphone with the right apps. The increasing digitization and globalization of work is creating entirely new archetypes for the workplace, with technology that allows instant video conferencing with on-screen sharing directly from our devices and computers to quickly convey and improve on ideas.

What's more, today's digital tools – from simple online chats to satellite-enabled video conferences that beam participants from around the whole into a single "room" – not only enable work to happen anywhere, they also help lower our company's carbon footprint through reduced travel.

We no longer design technology to fit into our space – we design space to fit around our technology. Today, when our people come into the office, they are more focused on the human and emotional connection with each other and their clients, and our technology encourages such interactions, even across continents. When we wrap the physical work environment around technology, it drives innovative new ways to engage everyone in a physical and virtual experience across many devices and interfaces.

Each day, Accenture connects more dots among our people, data and technology, driving forward the best ideas that bridge us and our clients to the "new." We recognize the outcomes in performance and employee wellness, because when you give your people the freedom to choose how they connect and how they perform, you will get a better result, every time.

And that is the true power of digital.

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Karen Pelletier is lead, Canada business operations and workplace solutions, Accenture.

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