Electrolux crowdsources ideas on sustainable food

For the fourth time, the Electrolux Group turned to its employees to bring new innovations to the fore through its successful crowdsourcing event iJam. This year’s theme combined the company’s expertise in great-tasting food with its sustainability leadership. Over 9,000 people actively engaged in answering the question: How can Electrolux help people enjoy great-tasting food in a healthy, more sustainable way?

Since launching the iJam concept, over 28,000 employees have participated and in submitting almost 7,000 product ideas. iJam has fast become a unique contribution to the Electrolux innovation agenda that inspires collaboration by capturing and utilizing the tribal knowledge of the company.

Electrolux iJam commenting ideas from the internal crowd

“We have received so many great ideas, not just products but experiences too, about how we can connect our smart devices and give new ways for consumers to interact with our products and benefit from them,” says Jonas Samuelson, Electrolux President and CEO. “We have 58,000 employees and we are consumers too; we all have ideas on how to improve our lives and those we get through iJam really gives us a competitive advantage.”

This year’s theme was selected to align with the Electrolux Sustainability initiative For the Better – a framework of nine promises to make a positive change in its solutions, operations and for society.

Electrolux iJam internal webbased crowdsourcing

“Sustainable innovation has always been part of our DNA,” Samuelson adds. “For almost 100 years, we have been shaping homes and organizations around the world, improving ways of living and contributing to people’s health and nutrition, and Electrolux is committed to continuing that journey.

iJam: How it works

  • 72 hour internal ideation online
  • Internal crowd voting to Top 60
  • Electrolux experts choose Top 20
  • Internal crowd voting to Top 10
  • Group Management selects Top 3 winners

Spreading the word of iJam

As a method of strengthening innovation culture, iJam has caught the attention of other companies and Electrolux is now lending its expertise to guide others on how best to build an employee crowdsourcing event.

Inspired by iJam’s success, Axel Johnson – one of the largest trade and service companies in the Nordic region – was keen to create its own version and an ambition to develop their own innovative company culture kick-started AxLab into action.

Electrolux guided Axel Johnson on bringing it to life. “We followed the very structured process Electrolux has developed, which enabled us to shorten our lead time and amount of work we put in – and that was very valuable to us,” says Pia Anderberg, Senior Vice President, HR and Innovation, Axel Johnson.

Axel Johnson’s first crowdsourcing event in October 2015 invited 23,000 employees to bring their ideas to the diverse businesses within the Group – from food and fashion to car parts and servicing.

“We wanted to send a signal as the company owners that it’s okay to have ideas that are a little bit crazy and perhaps not 100 percent right to start with, but it’s better to have ideas than none at all,” adds Anderberg. “It was about creating a platform for ideas on how our companies across the Group could improve.”

The goal was to reach 100 ideas from 300 contributors but the initiative far succeeded expectations. “We got 900 ideas from 1,200 participants so for us it was a tremendous success,” says Anderberg. So much so that Axel Johnsson is set to run a second AxLab in 2017.

Electrolux iJam ESA sector head Ola Nilsson jamming with colleagues

Inspiring the next generation of innovators

“iJam is a great way of harnessing different ideas, channeling energy and innovation as a collective,” says Jonas Colliander, Associate Professor, Stockholm School of Economics. “Crowdsourcing gives everyone the ability to get their voice heard and capture great ideas that were always present but difficult to extract from a large organization.”

A scaled-down version of iJam has been running for the past four years at the school’s Center for Consumer Marketing, where students create and pitch 360 consumer experiences to highlight an aspect of the Electrolux product range.

iJam 2016 – For the Better