Managing innovation to capture fresh ideas, refining them till they come to life is crucial. Over iterations, we arrived at a framework for managing Innovation. We call it the 3 ‘I’s of Innovation Framework. This framework is fostering innovation by enabling crowdsourcing of ideas across the organization, improving research agility, and occasionally producing breakthrough solutions. More importantly, it is encouraging an innovation mindset across the organization.
Ideate: Generate Ideas.
Identify: Refine ideas to identify the options to pursue.
Implement: Validate by implementing, fail early, fail often.
Each of these phases can have different proportions of components for a specific Initiative. Each phase can have multiple iterations. Iteration is the 4th “I”.
“CodieCon” is our flagship Innovation program that leverages this framework to capture ideas across the organization, translate these ideas into a focussed action for implementation.
Ideate: The intent of this “Ideathon” Phase is to collate ideas across the organization. Democratize: Encourage ideas across the spectrum of functions including Engineering, Product Management, Operations, Finance, Marketing teams. Incentivize: while we have a companywide Idea-board to capture the ideas as they come, we run a week-long special campaign with prizes for winning “Idea of Day”, prior to the actual “CodieCon” event to capture ideas across the organization.
Identify: The intent of this phase is to encourage teams to collaborate on refining ideas, pitch sessions for ideas, teams seeking mentors or additional members to implement.
Implement: “CodieCon” hackathon event itself is designed to encourage effective collaboration among participants and a period of intense efforts to bring out a demo able artifact. Participating teams are encouraged to create a presentation deck, 2-min video capsule enabling audience voting. Audience engaging events such as “Demo Day” are organized where individuals/teams across the organization present frameworks they built that may be finding leverage beyond or simply to showcase an interesting idea they worked on. This serves to reduce silos, increase cross leverage, and engages the larger community.
The jury is a cross-functional panel drawn from Engineering, Product Management teams with comprehensive evaluation criteria considering various factors such as
Freshness of idea
Preparation of Ideas and Solution implementation
User Interface Design
Suitability of the solution for the Business
Awards: Designed to incentivize and recognize various talents. Teams compete for awards for categories such as
Best Productivity improvement Idea
Best Product Idea
People’s Choice Award
Managing the outcome of CodieCon efforts is important for monetizing the gains, sustaining interest from the community for forthcoming events.
Post Event Actions:
Integrate into current products, where feasible.
Explore feasibility of new products, solutions.
Provide additional funding to promising ideas to continue implementation, refine to MVP state/drop after additional feasibility attempts.
Virtual Hackathon: Organising the hackathon event “Virtually” had additional challenges, especially to generate the “Live” feel of teams huddling to create magic. Some ideas that helped sustain engagement during our recently organized Virtual Codiecon 2020 are:
Event calendar: Published well ahead on dates when teams are relatively free to participate.
Communications: Identify anchor for drumming interest, generate engaging communication material, communicate frequently.
Virtual sessions: Enhance engagement by surprise events such as a quiz.
Common Code repository.
We deliberated on having a theme for the Virtual Hackathon and decided to keep it open-themed. The results pleasantly surprised us with the range and quality of ideas and final entries to the hackathon. We had teams showcasing solutions ranging from developer productivity enhancers, testing automation, interview management, training portal for interns, gamified training solution, a social network for book enthusiasts, virtual try-on, AR-enabled fashion, etc.
We hope the 3 ‘I’s of Innovation framework will help in your own Innovation journey. Please share your comments, feedback, thoughts, or ideas.