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The future of work: COO playbook

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Team members
(Pictured left to right): Natalie Berty, JC Chien, Michelle Lahrkamp, Natalię Zezza

Faculty mentor
Prof. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell

Sponsor organization
The Work Innovation Lab is a think tank by Asana that helps businesses evolve to meet the growing changes and challenges of the future of work. Their cutting-edge research equips leaders with a data-driven, research-backed approach for solving their most pressing organizational challenges—today and in the future. Since their launch in October 2022, Asana has been focused on executives in enterprises and change-of-work topics through research-based experiments, surveys, and interviews. The Work Innovation Lab’s primary products are podcasts, webinars, and an upcoming conference at which the Work Innovation Lab will be the keynote speaker.

Project description

Our goal was to expand on the Work Innovation Lab’s playbook offering for Chief Operating Officers and offer go-to-market strategies for the Work Innovation Lab, including both an external product and internal strategy suggestions. Researchers have conducted experiments, surveys, and interviews, and they have drafted playbooks for CIOs and CTOs based on what is currently top of mind—hybrid work and collaboration in organizations.

In the first section of our project, we created a COO playbook that added to the existing playbook collection. We conducted research, collected survey data, drafted a playbook with researchers, shared our findings with COOs, and prepared the playbook for launch at a March 2023 conference. The primary question that the playbook analyzed through survey data was, "What does it mean to be a COO today?" The playbook also discussed topics that are currently top of mind for COOs, as well as topics that will be top of mind in the near future.

For the second part of our project, we developed an internal go-to-market strategy for The Work Innovation Lab to grow through customer reach, as well as engagement with target audience recommendations. This part of the project included final recommendations with social media points-of-view (POVs), event recommendations, and co-marketing opportunities.

Techniques and solutions

The data collection for the COO playbook stemmed from referencing draft executive playbooks, our research, and interview insights. We first identified five key buckets of questions that we wanted to capture: Top of mind challenges, investing and cutting costs, data, leadership characteristics, and reflecting on the future.

Within these five buckets, we asked 2-3 specific questions that targeted our main goals of the survey. Each question had either an option to check off multiple options, scale a proportion of time, or provide a short answer response. The survey was then entered into the survey software Asana uses called Prolific. Next, we sent the survey out to over 100 operational leaders within the US across industries. We then performed a data analysis of the results.

The go-to-market strategy required data collection of current status, customer base understanding and potential, optimal target audience, marketing strategy, and media outlets to pursue. We worked with Rebecca Hinds (PhD ‘22) from Asana to receive the current customer base, opportunities they were presented with, and her vision for the Work Innovation Lab.

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2023 senior projects