The Innovation Pipeline: The Ultimate Evolution of the Corporate Suggestion Box
At the heart of any successful innovation process is the ability to capture and execute great ideas. So many organizations believe that ‘innovation’ is an ambiguous, serendipitous thing that’s both unpredictable and unmanageable; coupled with the pressure to continuously destroy boundaries and have breakthroughs, this belief is intimidating and stifling. Fortunately, it’s also unfounded.
AT&T’s Innovation Pipeline
Take, for example, AT&T’s Innovation Pipeline, or TIP. This online, crowdsourcing innovation tool enables employees to submit, discuss, and vote on various ideas across the entire company, regardless of hierarchy or position. Participants can use virtual currency to “invest” in the ideas they believe are viable — kind of like an ideation stock market. Top-ranked ideas make their way to senior leaders; once an idea is approved, it graduates to project status and goes through a handful of incubatory phases, including Prototyping, Production, and Commercialization. Forbes reports the following results of the TIP program:
- 130,000 active participants from all 50 states and 52 countries
- More than 25,000 innovation ideas submitted
- Numerous patents
- Over $38 million invested by AT&T in viable innovation projects
These types of results are quite positive, particularly in a company as globally spread out as AT&T. They’re also totally attainable. So, how can your organization implement a similar, streamlined approach?
Getting it Right
The below infographic from AT&T demonstrates how to properly develop an effective innovation pipeline, and how to use it.