By Robert Sunker and Susan O’Connell
Innovation, by its nature, entails free-flowing idea generation. Too many guardrails and limitations hinder progress. However, a lack of purpose and sustained focus on desired outcomes will similarly impede successful innovation.
Our ultimate purpose for innovation is to provide higher value to our clients. To best serve others, we recognized the need to first nurture a culture of innovation within RevGen.
Our Innovation Council and Guiding Principles
We started by establishing an Innovation Council consisting of some of our most dynamic thinkers and leaders. The Council worked with external advisors and select clients to identify guiding principles for a yearlong immersion in innovation:
- Listen: Implement mechanisms that enable us to effectively and efficiently listen to the market, our customers’ needs, and our employees’ ideas
- Experiment: Pilot new ideas quickly and swiftly pivot away from those that don’t appear to be viable
- Increase internal awareness: Raise employee awareness about the value of innovation, and its benefits to our clients and prospects
With a company filled with smart, action-oriented people, we wanted to avoid the trap of diving in with no clear direction. We recognized that success hinges on something deeper and more meaningful than yet another “innovation lab” or fancy technology. Thus, we sought a method to drive toward our desired outputs with speed and agility.
- Identify stakeholders: Our current and prospective clients, our employees, and the vast expanse of experts and advisors available to us
- Define the outputs: Ideas, proofs of concepts (POC), and points of view (POV)
- Design a right-sized process: (see illustration below)
Year One Accomplishments
We channeled the collective passion and intelligence of our RevGen colleagues and external advisors to immerse ourselves in innovation, have fun, and declare significant year one accomplishments:
- 52 Contributors – We invited all of our employees to participate in crowdsourcing ideas (using the knowledge-sourcing tool POPin) that could drive value for our clients.
- 6 Innovators, 7 Concept Briefs, 2 Themes – From the ideas submitted, six innovators developed seven concept briefs which fit within two themes.
- 2 Maker Teams – A team formed around each theme to create a proof of concept (POC) which could be brought to market.
- Team Say Anything – Digital customer interaction leveraging natural language processing and unstructured data
- Team VIPAR – Analytics through enterprise virtual personal assistants leveraging Alexa and BI data sources
- 1 Winner – In a gameshow format with audience voting at a company-wide event, Team VIPAR was awarded the Golden Idea trophy on the basis of demand, feasibility, and viability!
In addition to evolving both of our POCs as potential solutions to bring to market, we are continuing to nurture and mature our innovation process.
As we continue to infuse innovation in everything we do as an organization, we’re positioning ourselves to add unparalleled value to our clients in the form of ideas and offerings. Like change, innovation starts at home.
Robert Sunker and Susan O’Connell co-lead RevGen’s Innovation Council. Contact us to learn more about how RevGen can help your organization successfully innovate.