Steal these ideas: how 3 organizations socialize new ways of working

Steal these ideas: how 3 organizations socialize new ways of working

Collaboration is the new competitive edge — but even for visionary organizations, adopting a new way of working can be difficult.

To be successful, new ways of working require broad organizational support. Executive buy-in is essential, but not enough; internal stakeholders at every level must understand the value and be prepared to support new ideas, processes, and programs.

While analyzing the results of our State of Open Innovation survey, we spoke with several leaders who shared ideas for engaging colleagues and winning internal support for their groundbreaking programs.

The State of Open Innovation - report coverThe following excerpt is republished from The State of Open Innovation, the inaugural cross-sector survey by Luminary Labs. Download the report for 30 pages of analysis, charts, and benchmarks — including insights from open innovation leaders at AstraZeneca, Bayer, City of Pittsburgh, MIT Solve, Mozilla, Nestlé USA, Pfizer, Schmidt Futures, Verizon, UCLA, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Download the report.

In addition to internal updates and newsletters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosts boot camps where employees submit an idea for an open innovation project — in particular, a prize competition — and learn best practices, design principles, and how to navigate the administrative process from internal mentors who have run programs before. After workshopping their ideas for two weeks, they have an actionable plan for moving forward; outside of a boot camp, this process might take months. Two-thirds of people who have gone through a boot camp have launched a prize.

HHS Ignite is a three-month mini-accelerator that uses design thinking principles and customer-centric approaches to help HHS employees find and scale solutions to everyday work problems. As part of Ignite, HHS hosts an Innovation Day, which brings teams together to show off their work, and invites vendors and experts to share new ideas and approaches.

Sandeep Patel says the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer is also planning a series of department-wide convenings for employees to gather and share open innovation successes, with the goal of finding ways to improve their work.

At AstraZeneca, Dave Guiga created “Startup U,” an internal training program that teaches employees how to speak the language of innovators. The course includes several chapters to define startups, investment rounds, angel investment, accelerators, venture capital, and other relevant topics.

Communication and information-sharing is ongoing at Nestlé USA, where Ashlee Adams has assembled an internal “SWAT team” that includes heads of research and development, supply chain, manufacturing, and marketing. The group has bi- monthly calls to share information, communicate priorities, and marshal resources. Ashlee is also planning a “startup roadshow” at the company’s head offices to help employees who are not typically engaged with open innovation better understand the impact of the work.

How have you won internal support for new ideas and programs? Email to share your own pro tips for socializing new ways of working inside organizations.


Sara Holoubek
Founding Partner and CEO


Head of Content & Community