At Electrolux, several initiatives over the years have aimed to deliver on the company’s innovation ambition, which is to offer new products that are preferred by consumers and do it faster than competitors can do it. One remarkable initiative has been to create global, online crowdsourcing exercises around particular high-priority areas of innovation.
These exercises are called idea jams or “iJams,” because of their resemblance to jam sessions of jazz musicians, who improvise around a musical theme together on stage. By jamming within Electrolux we want to demonstrate innovation leadership, improve the innovation pipeline, highlight entrepreneurs within the organisation and operationalise innovation.
So far, we have conducted two global iJams, both times engaging more than 40 per cent of the target audience - about double the typical percentage that similar companies achieve in this type of activity. We have also run smaller iJams within the IT and marketing departments and achieved even higher levels of participation. A common denominator is that people want to be heard. They want their ideas to be seen and valued by their colleagues and managers. Done right, iJams are a highly visible way for management, right up to the senior management level, to show it is listening.