As is often the case in a company such as ours, we started with ideas — a plan to run experiments. But to deliver something truly innovative — something that would add new value to the business — we would only pursue those that had a purpose.
We started by setting up meetings across the nine global offices, both in-person events and online meet-ups. And we asked our staff for ideas that would help us tackle issues they saw in their day-to-day roles.
Identifying the right projects
From those meetings, we generated 185 nominations, which we narrowed down to 130 ideas when we’d removed duplicates.
Out of those 130 ideas, we then had to streamline further, looking at which were commercially viable, and where we could start creating impact first. We eventually decided on a project for our recruitment teams — one looking at getting consistent feedback from candidates.
We also carved out a small, but separate incubator team, from an existing large team to focus especially on delivering business value through innovation. The team had a people with product and domain, strategy, design and development skills, with a person often playing multiple roles.
Their challenge was to find a consistent way of getting high quality feedback from candidates — and in a way that would enable us to improve our recruitment process, give better feedback to candidates and measure the effectiveness of our recruitment teams.
The team had their first prototype done in eight weeks: a tablet-based system that candidates use immediately after their interview. That enabled us to get a trial out quickly, which we then monitored to ensure people were using it, to identify areas that could be improved and to ensure our recruitment teams were finding it useful.
This solution quickly established the notion that our incubator team could not only innovate, but come up with ideas that impacted the business. And having established our credentials, we could then build on this by returning to our ideas board, re-evaluating our list of potential projects and finding new ways to help the business.
This process for creating sustainable innovation can be seen as a four-stage process: