On May 11, thousands of Electrolux employees will begin 72 hours of online collaboration with colleagues around the world to create new ideas for the future of fabric care.
Called the iJam, this is the Group’s third crowdsourcing event for employees and part of a strategy to increase the pace of innovation by engaging them.
The iJam event, which last year had 6,500 participants, 1,500 ideas submitted, 8,700 comments posted and 11,500 votes cast, runs for 72 hours on a dedicated software platform, where the participants can see, comment on and promote various ideas. The same platform is also used by the Electrolux Group’s product development teams, so the iJam ideas will go directly into the innovation pipeline for future use.
Three winners get resources to take ideas further
After the 72 hours, a team of product development experts will select the 20 best ideas. iJam participants will then choose their 10 favorites, which will be presented to Group Management in June. Group management will select three winners to immediately study in more depth and commit resources to take them further along the path to market.
One winning idea from the first iJam could become the basis for a new type of appliance for food storage. And two of the three winners from last year’s iJam are now in mainstream development.
“This is an event where we’re going to bring all the talent and creativity of the organization together and bring new ideas to the market place,” says Electrolux President and CEO Keith McLoughlin. “Working across regions, sectors and functions improves everything we do. It also helps create a culture of creativity and innovation.”
This year, the iJam theme revolves around reimagining products, accessories, consumables and services related to the care of fabric, making a task like doing the laundry more effective, enjoyable and sustainable, for example. “It’s an important space for Electrolux and one we want to own,” McLoughlin says.
Building blocks of innovation
It’s not just the winners who live happily ever after, though. Potentially as important are ideas that become the building blocks to further innovation. So far, more than 500 ideas from previous iJams have been combined with ideas from Electrolux Design Lab — an external crowdsourcing event—and the existing idea pipeline. They have been evaluated by cross-functional teams from Marketing, Design, Advanced Development and global product lines and then clustered into approximately 20 innovation opportunities.
“iJam is an important milestone in our journey, leveraging our history but shifting the center of gravity to become more of a consumer marketing-driven innovation company,” McLoughlin says.