Literally Judging Employee Innovation

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 12.30.33 PM.pngObviously, innovation is really important; we all know that. I’m fortunate to work at a company that not only values it as a core principle, but has also built a really legit employee program around it.

The Gist

The Innovation Challenge allows folks to creatively solve an existing problem or to expand into new opportunities. Bonus – it’s a great way to increase an employee’s visibility in the company. It goes something like this:

  • Form your team
  • Develop your idea
  • Submit your proposal
  • Pitch the panel
  • If selected, watch your idea happen (for real)

2017-06-07 09.31.53.jpgThis year I was lucky enough to be on the judging panel. ‘Lucky’ because I got to detach from meetings, emails, and memos (awesome) to watch employees at every level, from across the globe, share their ideas to enhance or grow the business that we all work for (super awesome).

Brave Moments at Work

Beyond the ideas themselves, was getting to watch people bravely walk into a room, some of whom have never done a presentation – let alone to executives, who used the platform to make their place of employment better. That takes guts and pride of ownership. For those of us who present on a daily basis, you can forget how nerve wrecking it can be. It was a great reminder that if you are talking about something you truly care about, the ‘presenting’ piece basically takes care of itself. The passion and innate subject matter knowledge shines through.

Challenge To Myself: Get Out and Listen More

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I’ve been climbing the career ladder so to speak since kindergarten. Making it to senior leadership has been incredibly rewarding and challenging; but if I’m being totally honest, it can also feel a bit isolating. That’s why I really appreciated being a judge this year. It afforded me the unencumbered time to listen to colleagues at every level around the business. Of course the business is better for it, but so am I personally. I listened, I learned, I pondered, I got energized, and I got inspired.


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