If you are looking for ways to inspire your team towards innovation, you should begin by looking towards companies that have defined innovation programs that are successful. While your company may not be as large as these big-name companies, the general ideas behind their innovation programs can be applied to most workplaces.
And guess what? Money doesn’t equate to successful innovation. According to Forbes, “You can spend all you want on innovation, but you can’t guarantee success. In fact, the most innovative companies are not necessarily the biggest spenders.” Start where you are. For instance, consider using an innovation solution such as Planbox Shark Tank – an internal business competition encouraging employees to pitch creative ideas.
Without further ado, here are 12 companies using innovation programs the right way:
The Adobe Kickstart program is open to all employees. It allows any interested employee to attend a two-day innovation workshop and provides the employee with a $1000 credit card to come up with the prototype. Then, the employee pitches the idea to the executive team.
The ATT Foundry program is an accelerated innovation program. It speeds up the innovation process. For example, rather than taking two years from the innovated idea to become a reality, they try to do it in six months. Foundry is developed through mega investments and allows employees to test any idea they come up.
Autodesk Labs is the innovation program run by the makers of AUTOCAD and other engineering and design software. The lab provides technology previews to the public for feedback. They are known for using public feedback to improve ideas or to scrap them altogether.
Coca-Cola utilizes a Development and Innovation Lab at Georgia Tech to focus on big data analytics such and customer outreach strategies. They are continuously testing the latest ideas.
Ericsson Ideaboxes allow employees to submit ideas. These ideas and then voted on by and then the chosen ideas are paired with the best idea-to-innovation manager to bring the idea to fruition. Additionally, Ericsson has an internal team called “Innova” that helps find funding for promising ideas.
GE Garages is a successful way to encourage innovative startups to partner with large companies. They allow these startups to join their location, give them funding, and provide corporate support.
Hewlett-Packard runs HP Labs as a research facility for their wide array of technology projects. The research lab has even won awards.
- Intel Capital
For companies with the budget, Intel Capital is a way to invest in promising startups. Companies can identify startups that are willing to take a risk on.
The Linkedin [in]cubator program is open to all employees every quarter. Any employee can come up with an idea, put together a team and pitch an idea. If the idea is chosen, the team gets to spend three months bringing the idea to life.
- Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin’s research and development team is referred to as Skunk Works. This refers to the secret, hidden research facility for aircraft innovation. The goal: quick, quiet, and quality.
An unusual idea, the Marriott Pop-Up Innovation Lab, created an interactive hotel experience to crowdsource feedback from consumers about everything from hotel features to beverage options in the Los Angeles area.
Whirlpool has an actual structured ideation process, but all employees are encouraged to participate if they have an innovative idea. Ideas are developed through ideation sessions.
Looking for ways to inspire your team to go beyond the walls of your building? In the infographic below, courtesy of mindjet.com, you can find more details about what really fosters innovation.