Richard Raj, Group Digital Solutions and Innovations manager for Business Technology at Frucor Beverages, wanted his team to work on a raft of innovation projects, but with other departments and their technology partners participating.
So last year, he and his team kicked off an 'innovation pipeline'. They christened it inov8 IT, which was a simple process where people can register their ideas.
It is like a Facebook page but on Sharepoint, he explains. He and CIO/Group IT director Pieter Bakker got approval from the executive board to approve innovation and digital initiatives up to $10,000.
He says this was important, because it removes the bureaucracy that could stifle the innovation idea.He comments on every idea and encouraged others to comment.
Once an idea takes momentum and people say that it is great, he will ask the person to write a one-page proposal and how much it will cost to prototype it.
He extended the offer to some of their IT suppliers. He told them it is an opportunity for them to work with the IT team on a prototype. If the prototype is successful and will be produced, "they may be the first one we go to if we implement it".
They started with a few ideas and then doubled these by the fourth quarter.
They then organised a showcase for their projects in both the New Zealand and Australian offices."We needed to communicate to the wider leadership team about all the good stuff we are working on," he says.
In New Zealand, they booked a big room and invited the executive team to attend the breakfast event. The executive teams were divided into six groups. Each group visited the stations where the team and some suppliers demonstrated the concepts or projects.
In Australia where they had a smaller team, the whole company participated. This time it was held during the afternoon tea break.
They were able to see, for instance, how ibeacons, 360' video, mobility and augmented reality devices and solutions can be applied to their business.
"In one such station, the NZ CEO said, 'why are you doing this as a demonstration, we should be doing it in production straight away', recalls Raj.
Each showcase lasted an hour. In previous instances, it would have taken a team a few months or more to write a case, get funding, mobilise and engage, then convince the management towards a prototype and then demonstrate it, he says.
With the innovation pipeline, "It is like creating a shortcut to get the whole innovation thing going.''
As well, he noticed an increase in inquiries from other business units since doing the showcase. Before, a business team with an idea will often go to the supplier directly to inquire.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.