Severn Trent's innovation team look for solutions to dozens of business problems every year.
They know that the answers to most of these challenges reside within their deskless, frontline workforce – those who know the business the best.
The challenge was how to find them.
We didn't want to introduce 'yet another app'. We wanted to spark collaboration around ideas in the places where it happens naturally.Lesley Parker, Innovation Research Lead Severn Trent
The Severn Trent team identified that the key to engaging their workforce was ensuring that the idea-collection process was as seamless as possible.
It needed to be simple for employees to put forward their ideas and easy for others to discuss them. Microsoft Yammer was already used daily within the organisation and was the obvious place to focus.
The team created an innovation group on Yammer called 'Bright Sparks' which became the place to post specific business challenges.
The innovation team targeted specific areas of the frontline to help spread awareness of the campaign.
For the challenge of improving water quality, for example, they identified frontline experts and invited them into the specific group.
This approach ensured a buzz quickly spread around the workforce and employees were excited to be involved and utilise their expertise in the specific conversations.
We've always believed in the ability of our colleagues to help us innovate and improve. Sideways 6 have given us the tools to bring that to life.Lesley Parker, Innovation Research Lead Severn Trent
So far, the innovation team have run three campaigns for two weeks apiece, each focusing on a different business challenge.
Over 500 people have joined the Bright Sparks community, 190 ideas have been generated, and well over 1,000 comments and interactions have been received.
Using the Sideways 6 platform, the team channelled each idea through a structured approval process, enabling them to shortlist the best ideas quickly and put them forward to an expert panel for further review.
From 10 shortlisted ideas, 3 have now been accepted into the company's innovation portfolio with resource committed to bring them to life!
The Severn Trent Story