A key part of my day job is looking at how Amdocs, as a company, continuously improves its innovation capabilities and becomes an innovation powerhouse. So, I’m going to start a series of “About Innovation” posts talking about this—welcome to the first installment! I have so many things to tell you about what we do at Amdocs to nurture a culture of innovation and to become an effective innovator. So in order to help me choose which topics to discuss, I’ll rely on your feedback to help guide me.
So why did we hang a bunch of movie posters across the company?
We wanted to make sure everybody in the company, and beyond, understands that “innovation works” at Amdocs. Not only that we are seeing the results of our innovation activities, but also that it is really worth it for all the various stakeholders, and in particular, one community was most of interest to me – the innovators themselves. As a large company, we have many processes to help weed out variability in our day-to-day operations, in order to consistently recreate our successes, consistently produce quality products, and consistently deliver massive transformation projects for the world’s largest service providers. You cannot do these things consistently without good established processes and best practices—so we have many of these. But that can make innovation, challenging, as it requires trying something that’s new and different, and not part of the established process. Some might think that innovators might not fit in this culture. Well, they are wrong. Innovators can fit in, and we need them. But it takes some adjusting and encouragement to make this happen.
So back to the posters. Basically, we wanted to achieve a few things:
- We wanted to provide ample evidence that innovation works
- We wanted to “immortalize” the innovators – and show that innovation benefits them directly
- We wanted to put the innovators and their innovation efforts on a pedestal
- We wanted to make sure everybody knows them and their innovations
- And, we wanted to do all this in an innovative and creative way
One of the many ways we chose to achieve these goals was to create a series of billboard-sized movie posters that showcase the innovators and their successes. Initially, someone thought we should scan and Photoshop real movie posters and just change the faces and text, but we didn’t want to infringe on anyone’s copyrights. So we ended up creating our own set of posters – some are inspired by real movie posters, others went beyond and we started to be completely original. We hung hundreds of copies of these posters in the most visible spots we could find all across the company – dining hall entrances, coffee break spots, and well traveled hallways.
And it was a huge success. It simply worked. How do I know it worked? I heard from the innovators themselves. They felt flattered, even perhaps embarrassed. Most of them have these billboard-sized posters of them hanging in their office. But everybody, and I mean everybody, got the message. In fact, even our partners and customers noticed this. Our customers often visit our offices and they took notice. Here are a few things they had to say after seeing the posters:
“I think the posters are an awesome way for back office people to get some serious bragging rights in the office that will last with them their entire careers, vs. the typical award that just goes on the shelf or in the trash.”– Adam Hersh, Director, AT&T
“The first time I saw this man who is (evidently) not Keanu Reeves posing on a Matrix poster I was stunned. These posters send such a strong message about how important innovation is to Amdocs and about Amdocs’ commitment to innovation.” – Adrian Dilworth, Executive, Vodafone Global
These are just a few examples of the reaction. I am proud of the creative team that put these together, the innovators that are featured, and of their innovations.
Beyond the posters, we set up an internal website everybody at Amdocs can easily access where more details about these innovation successes—and other innovations—are explained. We promoted the site and the posters internally with an article on the company’s intranet portal.
One general point I’d like to emphasize: When fostering innovation and creating an innovation culture, you got to use plenty of internal communications, leveraging all means possible.
Just so you see what we came up with, and to further embarrass the innovators, here are a few of the posters.
So, what do you do in your company to recognize innovation and innovators?
Better yet, what are the most creative and effective ways you’ve found to do this?