MAD JAM - Turning employees into a self-sustaining innovation platform

By HCL Technologies

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At HCL we believe that in most value-driven services organizations, actual value is delivered to the customer at the interface between frontline employees and customers. At HCL, we call this the "Value Zone". Therefore, by empowering employees, we are enabling them to create more value for the customer -- this philosophy, also called "Employees First Customer Second" or EFCS has been at heart of every great idea we have developed for customers and their business. The journey started with EFCS 1.0, where the management undertook many initiatives to enthuse, encourage and empower frontline employees to deliver maximum value to our customers. It was "Management-driven and Employee-embraced". Over time, the philosophy evolved into EFCS 2.0 which places the onus of the change on the employees. Today, every initiative and idea is "Employee-driven management-embraced", because the employees are at the forefront of change.
A strong manifestation of the EFCS 2.0 philosophy is the MAD JAM initiative. MAD JAM or "Make a Difference JAMboree" placed unrelenting focus on a culture of innovation in the Value Zone by celebrating innovative ideas and the teams behind those ideas.
MAD JAM with its game show format based on "American Idol" brought into spotlight ideas from the Value Creation Portal (a platform in HCL to feed and develop innovative solutions in collaboration with the customers) which were implemented in the customer's business after approval. MAD JAM worked as the perfect platform to bring all of these ideas from different business units together to showcase across HCL.
In this edition of MAD JAM, the responsibility to drive participation was taken over by employees at all levels. Delivery teams started approaching their managers with ideas they wanted to nominate for MAD JAM 2012 and vice versa. It became a peer-to-peer communication. This massive participation drive done by employees at the grass root level, resulted in 270 idea entries (these ideas were approved by customers and implemented in CY 2012) from 800+ employees.
A panel consisting of 70+ senior business leaders evaluated and rated the idea submissions on business specific parameters. The top 2-3 of these rated ideas were selected from each Line of Business (LoB). A total of 19 ideas that created revenue/savings of USD 33 million for our customers proceeded to the next round of MAD JAM.
The shortlisted ideas were then converted into animated films and were shared across the HCL Intranet and employees were encouraged to vote for their favorite ideas. This was not only beneficial for MAD JAM but it also ensured that innovation happening inside the organization was thrown open to all employees. The power of MAD JAM was growing each day, and it soon became an initiative championed and run by 90000 HCL employees. The strong campaigning resulted in 42300 votes received by 23000 employees, 60% rise from last year.
As a result of the massive participation from employees, 8 ideas were shortlisted for the finale that took place at HCL's Innovator's Conference. The teams behind these ideas were invited and also mentored by the CEO. At the conference, the teams presented their ideas to the jury and were questioned on several areas including scope, future potential, scalability of the idea etc.
At the end of the idea teams' presentation, the panel decided and declared the MAD Idea for 2012. In addition to the winning idea, the participating teams selected one idea amongst themselves basis the same parameters as used by the jury. This idea was then declared as the Innovator's MAD Idea 2012.

An employee driven and management embraced initiative with key focus on celebrating the best in breed innovative solutions across the organization has recognized innovative ideas that delivered business impact in the last year.

MAD JAM received 270 ideas (these ideas were approved by customers and implemented in CY 2012) across HCL which were then shortlisted to 19 by the senior business leaders. These 19 ideas worth USD 33 million were then converted into interactive films and put to vote in front of all HCLites. Basis voting 8 ideas were taken to the finale. In the finale 2 ideas were declared as the MAD Idea 2012 and Innovators MAD Idea 2012 by the jury and the finalist teams respectively.

The 2 winning ideas have already generated revenue of USD 5 million for the company till date.

MAD JAM has taken these innovative ideas which existed in different pockets of the organization to all HCLites and has successfully celebrated the best innovative ideas. the fact that 19 ideas films have received 43000 votes from 23000 HCLites, 60% rise from last year makes it very clear that culture of innovation is increasing at a very fast pace in the organization.

December 2011 to June 2012

MAD JAM - Turning employees into a self-sustaining innovation platform