The Challenge:

The agricultural science subdivision of a multinational biotechnology company was looking for new ways to meet its strategic objective of maximizing its carbon efficiencies across its supply chain. As a collaborative organization, they wanted to launch an innovation challenge that would engage team members through crowdsourcing and encourage them to share ideas on how to best meet strategic objectives. But first, they needed a better framework to help them drive this endeavor.

The Solution:

Using Planview IdeaPlace as a crowd-sourcing solution, the agricultural science organization invited their team members to submit ideas on how the company could reduce its carbon footprint across its supply chain. They also paired IdeaPlace with Planview Portfolio Management to maximize the potential of the innovation in an end-to-end manner.

“Because we have an enormous impact on emissions in agriculture and in our crop science solutions, the question about reducing our carbon footprint is a critical one. We sought insight and ideas from our employees through an innovation challenge and used Planview as a crowdsourcing solution to not only engage people and invite submissions but also as a platform to collaborate and assess the potential implementation of ideas.”

– Innovation Manager, agricultural science organization

About the Organization

This agricultural science organization is one of the three major divisions of a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, one of the largest of its kind in the world. This particular division develops products used in crop protection, nonagricultural pest control, and seeds and plant biotechnology.

Challenge: Streamline an approach to collect, share, analyze, and prioritize ideas for reducing the carbon footprint across the supply chain

In March 2022, this agricultural solutions division launched its Carbon Efficiency innovation challenge, sponsored by the organization’s leadership team. The challenge aimed to engage employees of the agricultural science division to identify products and ideas that would help the company achieve its carbon target objectives. They sought a crowdsourcing solution that was simple to implement and navigate. It was also essential that the solution provided an easy way to encourage people to collaborate, submit ideas, and work together to improve the quality of those ideas. Since the leadership team sponsored the challenge, it needed to be accessible to anyone within the organization and effortless for any employee to participate.

“We designed the challenge to be engaging, welcoming, and a safe place to submit ideas. It was critical to keep the participants engaged throughout its entirety, so it needed to be easy for participants to collaborate on ideas, share feedback, and vote on those innovations that they wanted to see progress.”

– Innovation Manager

Solution: An engaging innovation challenge that encouraged participation and collaboration

The organization’s leadership team invited all employees to participate in an innovation challenge by posing a strategic business question and calling for ideas to solve it. The company enabled Planview IdeaPlace as the foundational crowdsourcing solution to support this challenge, using the platform as a launch-off point for widespread improvements. The tool's collaboration and communication features made it easy for participants to work together to enhance ideas, make comments, and vote on the ideas they wanted to move forward. Every aspect of the challenge was tracked in Planview using pairwise voting, allowing stakeholders to narrow submissions to those with the most significant potential and automatically prioritize and advance ideas most aligned with the strategic objective.

Results: Maximizing the return on innovation for the organization

The Carbon Efficiency Innovation Challenge was a huge success, generating 40 high-quality ideas from about 700 participants. During a pitch event, each idea was presented to the Digital Council. During presentations, council members could ask questions and evaluate the ideas against the strategic objective. That, along with the pairwise ranking, helped the Digital Council select seven ideas for the innovation portfolio and an additional 20 ideas for the sustainability program.

Along with several solid, innovative ideas to help the company optimize its carbon efficiency, the agricultural science division also designed a matrix for portfolio innovation decision-making. Organizing ideas into a matrix allowed them to identify the maximum return on innovation by surfacing options that offered greater promise and minimized risk for implementation.

What’s next: More innovation challenges across the company

Several factors contributed to the innovation challenge’s success, including engagement from leadership, effective communication and promotion of the challenge internally, and the ability to track the innovation in an end-to-end manner using Planview Portfolio Management. “We cannot express how pleased we are with Planview and how it is helping us grow together and inspire each other every day,” said the Innovation Manager. And, because of the success of our Carbon Efficiency innovation challenge, many other groups and project teams within the organization are now using Planview to launch their own challenges.

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