Morning session of the Seventh Annual EMC Innovation Conference from the Main Stage in Shanghai, China
I hosted the yearly Innovation Conference in China — marking its 7th year in 2013 — the conference allows EMC employees around the world to pause for one day and consider how to participate in EMC’s corporate innovation activites.
One of the centerpieces of this yearly event has always been the Innovation Roadmap, a global idea contest that I described last April.
This year the Innovation Roadmap achieved its highest level of global participation in its seven year history:
Note the final tally of 4218 ideas: representing nearly a doubling in ideation from the previous year:
What accounts for the continued growth and success of the global ideation platform? In my mind there are a number of factors:
- EMC continues to invest in a number of homegrown tools that are customized for EMC’s culture. The first tool is the submission portal itself (the Innovation Roadmap Portal), which was completely re-designed from the ground up this year to facilitate idea submission and search. The tool also has a back-end administrative capability that facilitates team judging.
- EMC continues to place a heavy emphasis on innovation analytics using our own Pivotal software. This allows EMC to perform topic modeling, social network analysis of idea submitters (both inside and outside of EMC), and an idea improvement button, which allows new ideas to be correlated against similar research.
- This year 28 different EMC business units pooled additional money together for the purpose of creating a fund that can be tapped for idea incubation and acceleration.
- These same 28 business units contribute specific challenge statements into the ideation process. Each challenge statements represents significant business obstacles that EMC Executives wish to solve. They strongly encourage their teams to not only participate in the ideation but also assist in the evaluation, judging, and incubation process.
- The process is continually marketed as a level playing field and an opportunity for global employees to impact the company.
The list below highlights the 28 different business units within EMC that submitted challenge statements in 2013
What’s next for the winners of these challenges? This year will feature the addition of a sponsor tracking tool that will allow sponsors to share (and rate themselves against) idea incubation progress of all winning ideas.
In addition to the unveiling of the winning ideas, I hosted an interesting panel discussion (pictured above) on Reverse Innovation. I will highlight some of the main outcomes of the discussion in a future post.
image credits: emc.com
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Steve Todd is an EMC Fellow, the Director of EMC’s Innovation Network, and a high-tech inventor and book author Innovate With Global Influence. An EMC Intrapreneur with over 200 patent applications and billions in product revenue, he writes about innovation on his personal blog, the Information Playground. Twitter: @SteveTodd