Software de Inovação
BT Group

Leveraging Employee Ingenuity For Corporate Success

Background
BT Group is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries with over 100,000 employees around the globe. Its principal activities include, among others, the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services as well as broadband and internet products and services. For fiscal year 2009, BT Group reported revenue of £21,390 million.

Challenge
In a global corporation of BT's size and diversity, creating and maintaining a corporate culture of innovation is a real challenge. Too often, complex structures, communication gaps, and lack of management support get in the way of promising ideas. At the same time, to remain an industry leader, BT cannot afford to leave any resources for new business ideas untapped.

BT had previously used an innovation program that was managed by an external service provider.

But in 2005, a new fresh approach was taken by in-sourcing the operation of the program and turning it into a business driving corporate initiative. Expectations were high. BT needed to establish a system that would allow the company to fully leverage the creative minds of their employees, collect customer insights, and efficiently turn the most promising ideas into concrete projects with measurable returns.

Planned improvements to the scheme included the introduction of new incentive mechanisms to encourage active participation and of cutting-edge tools to streamline the processes.

Solution
A large amount of planning and preparation went into the launch of the new innovation program. A team of three people headed by John Nevins, Head of Innovation Consulting was established to set up the New Ideas Scheme. John realized that BT needed a flexible and user friendly software solution to power the program. After evaluating several providers, Brightidea's on-demand idea management software was chosen. Brightidea's WebStorm technology provided the necessary capacity, functionality and flexibility for BT's complex requirements, with a suite of products that help manage ideas from concept through to realization. BT engaged an existing vendor relationship to provide the Rewards Shop, an incentive structure that reflects different cultures, locations, local laws and currency rates. As a top reward, submitters of implemented ideas receive 10% of the idea's bottom line benefits of the first year performance up to a maximum of £30,000. Throughout the global organization, John identified and connected innovation champions. He also selected a large number of part-time idea "Evaluators" and additional "Implementers" to push ideas through the pipeline. From the beginning, senior management's and especially the CEO's active support made the New Ideas Scheme a priority and gave it additional visibility throughout the company. To kick off the renewed innovation program, John's team organized a huge New Ideas event at BT's global headquarters that brought all local innovation champions together and introduced the New Ideas Scheme. With the event only weeks away, Brightidea prepared the timely roll-out of a customized WebStorm Enterprise solution that fully integrated into BT's systems. Through CSS skinning, the user interfaces were branded and blended into BT's design for a seamless user experience. "Without Brightidea's focus and dedication we would not have achieved our launch date", says John. After the successful launch, BT employees all over the world were encouraged to submit their ideas into the system as well as vote and comment on the posted submissions. Since then, numerous WebStorms have collected ideas for certain campaigns of different dimensions or have functioned as open innovation portals for general suggestions. A recent example for a specific call to action is an initiative to find ideas on how to leverage London's 2012 Olympic Games. BT has also run several consumer facing initiatives that have brought BT valuable external feedback and great recognition from its customers. To facilitate efficient management and prioritization of ideas for all campaigns, Brightidea's software solution offers a range of applications and evaluation tools that aim at accelerating the innovation pipeline processes. BT's dedicated innovation team screens every submitted idea and offers support with the submissions. The ninety Evaluators in the company make sure the best ideas move on to the next level where selected Implementers help turn theory into action.

Results
Since the New Ideas Scheme was launched in October 2005, over 10,000 ideas have been collected from all over the corporation. Of the ideas chosen for implementation the resulting cost savings and new revenue generated is in excess of £100 million. Rewards for successfully implemented ideas, including the top prize of £30,000, have already been paid out to BT employees. While ideas have come from all parts of the organization, customer facing employees have made the majority of submissions into the New Ideas Scheme with significant impacts on customer loyalty and retention. The monumental success of BT's innovation program could not have been achieved without a shift in the company's culture of innovation. The new internal system with its dedicated innovation team, clear incentive structure and the easy-to-use software platform changed the generally pessimistic attitude of employees towards new ideas into a positive corporate energy that keeps motivation up even in a challenging business environment. "The greatest asset BT has is its people. Our role is to provide a mechanism for BT people to express their ingenuity, and the New Ideas Scheme has been instrumental to achieving that goal. We're constantly trying to improve that capability for our employees and maximize the benefit for our customers", John Nevins states proudly.

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