Engaging thousands of employees in process improvement through a fully managed campaign launch

How Virgin Media O2 built & executed the perfect 3-month launch for their Fresh Thinking ideas initiative.



Use Case

Employee Engagement


Workplace from Meta


Engage employees in improving business efficiency





Ideas in Month 1


Week Launch


Introducing Fresh Thinking

In 2021, two of the UK's most iconic media and telecommunication brands, Virgin Media and O2, joined forces in an industry mega-merger to create Virgin Media O2. The company serves over 47 million customers as a leader in consumer mobile, broadband and television.

Bringing together these two large and complex organizations was not without its challenges, and integrating employees and processes was key to the merger's success.

The Virgin Media side of the new business had recently launched a small employee ideas campaign called Fresh Thinking. However, the basic online form, lack of campaign structure and inability to efficiently communicate back to idea submitters led to low engagement, with many good ideas going to waste.

I was trying to launch an employee ideas programme from scratch and was pretty much relying on trial and error.

Virgin Media O2 - Employee ideas Jonah Edwards, Channel Review Manager Virgin Media O2


Moving quickly to improve processes

Throughout the integration of the two companies, the internal comms leadership spotted an opportunity to engage employees in improving the new company's processes. The goal was to capture new ideas on how to operate more efficiently, giving time back to employees to spend more time on what mattered; the customer.

It was time to take the Fresh Thinking idea programme to the next level.

With a thriving Workplace by Meta online community and employee engagement as a key measure of success, Virgin Media O2 decided to take the integrated approach and collect employee ideas within Workplace. Because employees were already using Workplace every day, the idea-sharing experience would be seamless, which would help generate more ideas and engage more people from across the business.

We wanted increased visibility for Fresh Thinking and didn’t want to introduce a separate user journey or yet another app. Collecting ideas with Sideways 6 made it simple.

Virgin Media O2 - Employee Ideas Gemma Saint, Senior Channels Manager Virgin Media O2


Expert advice, hands-on support

Virgin Media O2 now had a way to collect and manage ideas effortlessly. However, due to the challenges experienced with the original Fresh Thinking campaign, the communications team had committed to relaunching Fresh Thinking as soon as possible - time was of the essence.

Virgin Media O2 needed expert support to ensure the launch and transition to the new Fresh Thinking programme was a quick success.

As always, the Sideways 6 Services Team were ready to help. With the Strategic Planning and Design & Configuration services built into their onboarding, Virgin Media O2 got expert support from Sideways 6 consultants on best practice methodologies, implementation processes, the communication and engagement approach, stakeholder mapping and platform set-up. It was time to get to work!


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Sideways 6 Services

Ensuring a successful launch

The plan was to initially launch the campaign to 4000 people in the mobile division within a three-month timeframe - no mean feat. The Virgin Media O2 team worked with Sideways 6 consultants in a series of workshops designed to help them craft the perfect launch and deliver it on time.

A successful launch was paramount to ensure early momentum and help the team take the initiative company-wide.

The workshops focused on designing stage and decision gates for the idea journey, ensuring campaign communications were engaging and personalized, finding the perfect expert idea reviewers around the business and building out bespoke automations to help run the campaign on autopilot once launched. The Sideways 6 team helped Virgin Media O2 develop its overall strategy and implementation process, meaning everything was set up perfectly the first time.

You get access to all the experience Sideways 6 has with launching campaigns at the world’s best companies. We realized there is no one size fits all, but there is a best practice you can follow.

Virgin Media O2 - Employee Ideas Jonah Edwards, Channel Review Manager Virgin Media O2


Set up for success

The workshops and guidance have meant that the relaunch of Fresh Thinking went off with a bang as well as being delivered on time.

The Fresh Thinking team collected over 100 ideas on improving processes in their first month, reflecting the high level of engagement they were able to generate with employees through the launch. The ideas collected are also 100 new ways to improve business processes, save time and focus on the customer!

The launch's success has meant that other parts of the business have already come to the team with their own campaign ideas. With the training and learning received through the onboarding workshops, the communications team feel confident to go forward, execute campaigns themselves and train others in the business on the best way to set up and launch an employee idea programme at scale.

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The Virgin Media O2 Story