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Employee-Led Innovation

The Challenge

Under new leadership, the company’s CEO wanted to increase the ability for other leaders in the company to take initiative in identifying and addressing business and operations challenges. Current processes emphasized caution, not making mistakes, and asking permission before trying anything new. The result was a culture that stifled innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. The CEO saw an opportunity to build innovation capacity and at the same time develop high-potential employees.

Our Solution

The company chartered an internal team of “change innovators” and sought Ei’s support to create a framework for identifying challenges, brainstorming and prototyping solutions, and measuring and reporting results. Through in-depth coaching and a series of workshops in design thinking and storytelling, Ei supported the teams in identifying and tackling three internal challenges. Ei also hosted workshops for the company’s Senior Leadership team to help them understand how innovation efforts need a different kind of support from leadership than operational efforts.

Workshop Outcomes

In just one year, the innovation teams launched six front-line innovation projects to address top employee concerns and opportunities. Initiatives included developing a policy to support parental leave, implementing procedures to reduce production waste, and creating better communication streams to keep teams in different offices connected. One project was recognized globally by the parent company and received an award for its advances in corporate sustainability.

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