Inspiring innovation, uncovering hidden ideas and driving new ventures forward
Client: The Globe and Mail
The Globe & Mail is Canada’s most widely read national newspaper, and the way people consume information is shifting to digital platforms. The Globe wanted to find a way to tap into the fresh and creative ideas within their own organization, while spreading entrepreneurial practices and mindsets across the organization.
A two stage program that first draws out ideas and provides the bureaucratic freedom (including a small amount of funds) to be explored, followed by a more rigorous process for initially proven ideas, and their teams, to dedicate themselves to proving the value of that idea as a business
Finding and exploring the ideas
Innovative ideas need a chance to be explored whether they are worth the organization's time and resources. Doing this without being slowed down by traditional organizational processes can be daunting.
To overcome this challenge, we collaboratively designed a light program that allowed anyone with an idea, as long as it could potentially generate value for the Globe, to receive a small dose of high-level training on entrepreneurial practices to validate the worth of the idea to both their potential customers and the Globe. At the same time, the individuals in this program received a box that included a note pad, cards that explained the methods, goals and stages for exploring an idea, and most importantly a $1,000 credit card that they were free to use as they saw fit, without the need for approvals or any other "red tape" to explore their idea.
Growing the ideas
Once an idea had proven that customer's valued it and the Globe could generate new value from it, that idea and team entered a more rigorous second program. The team was then given time from their day jobs dedicated to exploring if the idea made sense as a business.
Teams received deeper dives into entrepreneurial practices, additional training on strategy and business fundamentals, hands-on time with mentors to push them further and additional access to organizational resources. By the end of this part of the program the teams needed to prove that all the necessary risks of customer adoption, business value creation, organizational alignment and a path to implementation were removed.
Organizational change taking root
To create awareness about the program a "lunch & learn" was marketed to everyone in the organization and created an opportunity to explain the program as an outlet for ideas that may have been held back in the past. Additionally, a senior leader would endorsement the program and close with a call for ideas.
The goal of the initial light portion of the program was finding creative ideas and giving them the opportunity to be explored without the typical barriers, but it also had the goal of showing employees that the Globe had an outlet for their creative ideas, and spread entrepreneurial practices to a wider audience.
Outside of the program, and just as important, the Globe leadership team learned how to judge the teams and their ideas for continued time and resources. As well as, understanding how to continue to develop ideas through to pilot and launch in an experimental and iterative way.
Multiple rounds of the lighter idea exploration portion of the program has resulted in a significant portion of the organization learning new problem-solving methods that are applicable to their day jobs. At the same time, ideas are being proven as valuable or not far faster, and cheaper than before.
A buzz now circulates the halls of the Globe from employees learning from those who have taken part in program and begun utilizing those practices in regular operations outside of the program. Employees are talking about how they and their ideas are supported by the Globe and the number of applications to join the program continues to rise.