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Innovation Management at Work: Real-World Use Cases

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Global companies waste at least $100 billion dollars per year on innovation, according to an article in MIT Sloan Management Review. Somewhere between idea and implementation exist numerous points of failure. One of these is on the front end: Failure to engage employees, partners, and customers in your innovation management process.

These are the people most familiar with your company and products. By not asking for their input, you risk losing out on game-changing, revenue-producing opportunities and ways to make your business more efficient. You’re also missing the chance to increase employee engagement and develop a culture of innovation that will yield dividends for years to come.

The following four case studies demonstrate how organizations have used a collaborative innovation management system to harness the collective wisdom and insight of its people to:

  • Streamline and automate the innovation process
  • Create a culture of innovation
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Reduce costs and gain efficiencies
  • Launch new, differentiated products and services

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Cambia Health Solutions: “Innovation Force” Generates and Saves Millions

Cambia Health Solutions has innovation in its DNA, with a mission to transform and disrupt the healthcare industry. Based in the Pacific Northwest, this nonprofit health solutions company first used SharePoint to gather and analyze ideas. They quickly realized that this approach was difficult to scale, lacked a way to organize around a topic, and was missing a clear pathway for moving ideas forward.

The company turned to innovation management software to streamline and amplify the process. The solution prompted the formation of an “Innovation Force” and a proprietary innovation process that Cambia continues to refine and apply more broadly across all departments. Talk about a culture of innovation!

The organization has since seen a substantial return on investment from its innovation efforts. A recent challenge yielded $4 million in cost savings associated with process changes. Cambia turned another idea into a new sales engagement tool that has supported more than $60 million in sales and renewals.

“Our mission to transform the health care industry is not a small feat. Our innovation management solution helps our organization to collaborate, become more transparent, and prioritize the most important business goals to further our market position.” Chief Innovation Officer Mohan Nair, Cambia Health Solutions

Polaris Industries: Speeding Up Vehicle Innovation

Based in Minnesota, Polaris Industries is a manufacturer of motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, and neighborhood electric vehicles. Using a new innovation management solution, Polaris reduced the time needed to analyze, graduate, and implement new ideas and inventions by 80 percent.

This enhancement to their R&D process increased time to market dramatically, giving them a distinct competitive advantage in a crowded vehicle market. Their innovation program has resulted in bestsellers and award winners in the ATV market.

The solution closely mirrored our existing innovation efforts, but allowed us to scale. We get to tap our employees’ expertise, bringing state-of-the-art vehicles to our global market quickly and repeatedly.” Craig A. Scanlon, Vice President, Polaris Industries

Top Energy Firm: High-Flying Idea Reduces Power Outages

A top utility firm implemented innovation management software to transform operations via the knowledge and creativity of its employees. The goal was to “future-proof” the business against external factors that put the traditional utility business model under tremendous pressure—such as severe weather and cyber attacks.

One of the winning ideas was to use a drone to check power lines, which is estimated to prevent 11 power outages a year. Fewer power outages means more satisfied customers and cost savings. To put this in perspective, utility consultant E Source found that power outages in eight major U.S. sectors cost businesses about $27 billion per year.

Manufacturing Company: Creative Solution Cuts Inspection Times by 85%

A manufacturing company challenged its employees to find ways to better serve customers. Its new innovation management program unearthed a problem: Inspections of one of its aircraft parts were taking too long: Seven hours to thread a camera inside the part and one hour to do the actual inspection. This issue caused flight delays, making the company’s airline customers unhappy.

Familiar with the airlines’ complaints, an administrative assistant at the organization responded to the challenge. She had recently seen the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, and posted an idea: “Why can’t we send a robotic spider into the part, like the ones in the movie?”

This intrigued the company’s CTO, who successfully put a miniature camera on a remote control set of robotic legs and walked it into the part. He then turned the administrative assistant’s idea into a standard practice. Now the inspections take 85 percent less time than before, to the satisfaction of the airlines.

Innovation Management for All

Anyone can come up with great ideas. Don’t let them lie fallow in people’s minds, spreadsheets, and servers. With the Planview innovation management solution, you can solicit breakthrough ideas from employees, partners, and customers. This collaborative, crowdsourced front end to your innovation process will help your company identify opportunities, solve business challenges, and deliver measurable innovation results, from idea to impact. By cultivating a more diverse knowledge-base, leaders can make more informed decisions and achieve better strategic outcomes.

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Leyna O’Quinn
Written By

Leyna O’Quinn is the editor of the Planview Blog and responsible for its overall strategy. She writes about portfolio management news and industry trends as well as information related to portfolio and resource management, project collaboration, and enterprise architecture. She has more than 10 years of experience writing about technology and trends. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Marketing.