How This Automotive Company Responds to Evolving Industry by Creating a Culture of Inclusivity

CHALLENGE

As the automobile industry rapidly changes and the company expands across the country, this Automotive Company recognized the need to be even more innovative in order to continue its legacy of thriving in the face of significant challenges. Without a defined innovation strategy or process, the company was limited in its ideation capacity, making it difficult to achieve its vision of not only responding to market influences but actually becoming an industry disruptor.

SOLUTION

This Automotive Company chose the Planview IdeaPlace™ innovation management solution to automate the innovation program and provide a single place to easily collect, organize, and advance ideas. In less than a year, the company has created a pipeline of winning ideas from its “Innovation Garage” crowdsourcing program and saw a greater than 9% improvement in the number of employees who view the organization as an innovative company.

“Planview IdeaPlace was the easiest and most logical way to ensure the new initiative would be championed by executives, adopted by employees, and successful in delivering innovative ideas we could vet and execute.”

– Sr. Innovation Coordinator

The Company

The company was founded in 1932 during the Great Depression and expanded during WWII, where it offered customers everything from auto parts and appliances to home goods. By 1950, the founder focused solely on auto parts, only to lose his entire inventory to a devastating flood. Eighty-seven years later, the automotive company has not only survived but is now the largest after-market auto retailer in North America.

Challenge: Responding to Disruption with Crowdsourced Innovation

This automotive company is no stranger to adversity. With its incredible history of surviving during some of the world’s greatest challenges, the company has relied on innovation to get it through the toughest times. Seismic shifts in the auto industry, including ridesharing, electric cars, and autonomous vehicles are disrupting the transportation industry, driving this automotive company to do what it does best in response: innovate. “We had to be able to pivot and adapt to disruptors, to anticipate them and have a plan to move forward so we aren’t crippled by them,” says the senior innovation coordinator at Automotive Company. “We needed an innovation program to tap into the incredible knowledge of our thousands of employees.”

Solution: Implementing a Scalable, Measurable, and Automated Program

While many innovation programs are dictated from the top-down, the company began as a grassroots effort by a group of employees who identified an opportunity to create a new culture of engagement to solve various corporate and customer pain points. The company’s biggest asset is its diverse culture of knowledgeable employees who, because of their various roles, see unique challenges and have ideas on how to address them. The company chose IdeaPlace as an automated tool that provides an engaging way to collect and manage ideas while also providing analytics and scalability.

“We have 75,000 employees scattered across the country in our stores,” says the Senior Innovation Manager. “In order to reach everyone, we had to automate our innovation program. IdeaPlace was the easiest and most logical way to ensure the new initiative would be championed by executives, adopted by employees, and successful in delivering innovative ideas we could vet and execute.”

Once executives saw how IdeaPlace worked, they immediately saw the value in the concept. The Senior Innovation Manager was given the green light to establish the “Innovation Garage,” the company’s crowdsourcing program designed to leverage its people and drive innovation within the company and the industry. Spigit enables employees from anywhere in the company to offer their ideas to posted challenges and vote on those ideas, as well as give selection teams a way to evaluate and choose the best ideas. From there, selected sponsors see the chosen idea(s) through implementation. Spigit provides complete transparency throughout the entire innovation process, enabling executives and employees to view the progress of ideas through implementation.

Results: Generating Winning Ideas and an Upward Trajectory of Innovation

With strong leadership support, program awareness, and reward program, the company now has a pipeline of ideas coming from the people who know the industry best. In less than a year since IdeaPlace was implemented, the company has completed four enterprise-wide challenges that resulted in seven winning ideas, three of which have already been implemented. Nearly 1,380 employees have contributed ideas so far and more than 3,000 employees voted on those ideas. Perhaps the greatest indicator of the success of the program is the fact that the company saw a greater than 9% improvement in the number of employees who view the organization as an innovative company.

Future: Crowdsourcing Ideas to Drive the Company Forward

The founder of this automotive company often said, “People make a difference. Success is built around people.” For a company that values its people as more than employees but as true innovators with ideas that are worth listening to, its opportunity for success is virtually limitless. The scalability and ease of use of IdeaPlace will enable the company to continue to provide a platform where employees feel comfortable in sharing their ideas. It will also give executives a concise and automated way to leverage those ideas to drive the company forward.

To learn more about what Planview® solutions can do for your organization, visit Planview.com.