Internal innovation challenge to explore new ideas and approaches together
Ponsse is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines, such as harvesters and forwarders, for the cut-to-length method. The company’s shares are quoted on the NASDAQ OMX, but it’s a family company whose roots are deep in the Finnish countryside. In 2019 their turnover was 667 M€ and had a personnel of almost 1800.
As part of PONSSE Innovation Lab, an internal innovation challenge was organized to engage employees into ideation – bringing new perspectives for solving a complex issue and breaking silos for by experimenting with concrete solutions together. Earlier, Ponsse had done innovation challenges with external developer teams, but this time they wanted to engage and innovate with just their own personnel.
The challenge was promoted to the whole staff globally, and anyone was allowed to form a team and apply. Selected six teams of 3-5 people from various locations travelled in for a 2,5-day co-creation camp in Ponsse’s Tampere R&D site, where they got the chance to develop their own ideas and were supported by both Ponsse mentoring and Industryhack coaching.
The contest pinnacled in the teams’ final presentations to the jury (representing R&D, top management, sales and customers), who were amazed about the quality of both the ideas and the presentations. The winning team representing Ponsse Uruguay had a visionary suggestion that Ponsse wanted to explore further as a result of the contest.
Industryhack acted as a facilitator for the process and a coach for the teams as they (many for the first time ever) scoped their ideas, designed concepts and drafted business cases and development roadmaps for their ideas.
An internal innovation challenge like this is a way to not just crowdsource ideas from the whole staff to a pressing issue or for longer term business development, but also a means to engage people in new ways of working. These programs may represent hands-on training for lean product development and service design, a boost for culture, morale and entrepreneurial mindset, and offer a deep dive into industry-specific topics. Not to mention the luxury and fun of being able to completely focus on creative and inspiring innovating with other enthusiastic colleagues for a few days!
Summary of participants’ feedback
Thank you! It was a great opportunity to develop our idea without other workload, with professional people helping us, and exchange information with other Ponsse guys. For all of us it was a huge experience. We learned a lot about thinking creatively and outside the box, and how to make a good business planning and presentation of our idea. We also learned to know colleagues better and learned a lot about the forest industry.
Customer’s contact person:
Director, Technology and R&D
Aino Heiska was responsible for this project. If you are interested to hear more about it, don’t hesitate to contact her: +358 40 026 5641 or firstname.lastname@example.org