Dare to issue silly innovation ideas… That’s basically how General Mills, the American industrial food products giant, presented a recent intrapreneurial initiative inspired by the Startup Weekend approach.
In the managerial culture of most big companies, putting crazy ideas on the table can be the synonym of a personal reputation suicide.
General Mills tried to start breaking this implicit rule by implementing the Idea Weekend program, a 30 hours intrapreneurial mararthon.
“Idea Weekend was born out of the desire to capture the ideas, talent, and creativity of General Mills employees and provide an environment in which those ideas could be tried, executed, and gain exposure in a very short time”, tells this post published by Tech.mn.
Open to employees and executives
Idea Weekend was open only to internal employees of General Mills and was centered around Intrapreneurship.
Employees and executives start with thirty one minute pitches. The six most popular ideas are selected based on a vote by the audience inside the company. Teams are formed and work during 30 hours to develop a concept and make a first proof of its relevancy. A final judging occurs at the end of the saturday, with members of the group’s executive committee taking part in the jury.
“All the ideas that were pitched related directly to technology in General Mills business. Ideas ranged from apps to improve productivity of employees to advertising concepts for in-store displays to statistical models that provide better insight into sourcing and logistics. Teams were judged on 3 primary criteria: 1) solution creativity 2) business value / strategic alignment for General Mills; and 3) execution”, explains Tech.mn.
“At General Mills, one of our best resources for innovation are our own employees. Activities like Idea Weekend give employees the opportunity to bring forward innovative ideas and cutting edge solutions to help drive our businesses,” said Tim Huebsch, Global Business Solutions Engagement Manager and Co-Leader of General Mills Idea Weekend.
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