We took a deep dive into some of our creative innovation games and learned about five principles that helped Wolters Kluwer teams create award-winning customer solutions.
As exciting technologies emerge and promise new frontiers in corporate culture, many organizations are experiencing a rekindled passion for knowledge and creativity. From innovation ecosystems to unconventional work-life hacks, corporate culture is having a moment. However, although innovation beyond traditional R&D has become the new norm, only 46 percent of businesses dedicate funds to innovation strategies. At Wolters Kluwer, investing in our culture and engaging employees in creative processes allows us to continually anticipate the needs of physicians, nurses, lawyers, tax professionals and finance and regulatory professionals. Customers and employees both play a crucial role in developing new industry-leading solutions through co-created activities such as our organization-wide innovation contests. In this piece, we look at five principles that have helped our innovation teams co-create customer-centered solutions.
1. Formalize your innovation
More often than not, managers make the mistake of introducing innovation activities as unconstrained activities with no discipline. “You need to have a very disciplined process so you can leverage the energy of your employees’ creativity, allowing everyone to be a part of it,” says Brian Diffin, CTO of Global Technology with Tax & Accounting (TAA) Wolters Kluwer, who runs the annual Code Games. Allowing the customer to judge the innovation brings home the change, according to Brian.
“Innovation has always been part of our DNA, everything we do is customer-focused. The Code Games was a groundswell from within our office just when hackathons were first starting in the professional space, we thought running a hackathon too would help customers understand this was an event based on innovating,” recalls Brian. In the four years since TAA founded Code Games in Dallas, Texas, the participation has grown over 2.000 percent. Today, real-time motivational Tech Talks are hosted and broadcast at the flagship location to the over 800 TAA employees that participated in 2018.
Our company’s Governance, Risk & Compliance division (GRC) has its own version of the Code Games. The ROCKathon competition, which started as a fun event in 2016 where employees had creative freedom to design and code anything they wanted, also found benefits in formalizing their idea pipelines.
“In the last two years, we’ve started focusing more on getting people’s best ideas on how to make things better, whether they be ideas on our customer focus or operational efficiencies. We asked: what could, and, should we do differently to be better on the whole?” says Steve Swenson, VP of Product Platforms and Development. Asking and iterating on these questions has seen the ROCKathon competition evolve into an international, company-wide idea hackathon tournament.
The Global Innovation Awards (GIA) is our organization’s largest innovation competition and sees 75 percent of winning ideas brought to life. Now in its eighth year, the tournament follows a highly formalized procedure where ideas fall into three categories: core business innovation, game-changers, and internal processes.