Your Collective Creativity Chronicle

August 16, 2017

How GE crowdsourced 23 breakthroughs in two weeks

in collective creativity, breakthroughs

GE Healthcare had a recurring practice of involving their staff to brainstorm new product ideas during their annual Innovation Week but was struggling with the quality of their projects.

Participants arrived at their usual dedicated hackathon with seed ideas from teams already formed. However, most of the ideas seemed to be too broad or generic. Leadership desired for quality prototypes. Goals were eventually met (and exceedingly so) after their crowdsourcing effort where they achieved:


Ideation to greenlighted projects in two weeks

23 patentable solutions

1050% Y0Y growth of patentable outcomes


This is how they did it.

When Be-novative was called in to revamp the innovation process in hopes to boost results, we added an extra component: an open innovation challenge for hundreds of employees to take part in. Members participated in a session where they brainstormed and sourced for new projects. They were asked: “What is your breakthrough idea that changes healthcare and that you can prototype during Innovation Week?”

In 30 minutes, 832 ideas were evaluated through the session, which was 20 times more in quantity than in the previous year. Based on the top 1% of the most impactful and feasible ideas submitted, 25 teams were formed in one week to develop them into concepts. The final stage of the process brought in a panel composed of C-level executives and industry experts. 23 out of the 25 concepts were given the green light as patentable projects, whereas in years past only one or two were found patentable.

Here's the thing.

By using gamification and psychological triggers, more breakthrough solutions will surface that can be identified, validated, then elaborated on as prototypes with higher potential. Thus we need to reinterpret how this saying goes: ideas are the 1% and the implementation is the 99%.

From another angle it may also mean that 1% of all ideas will guarantee 99% success of the implementation process. Then the question is, how long will it take to source that top 1%? And will people enjoy the journey towards achieving them? Think of innovation challenges and events like a sprint; these small sprints can help you train for the marathon, which is creating a continuous innovation culture within your organization.


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