How to turn your employees into innovators

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“Everyone can be an innovator”, said David Kelley, founder of one of the most innovative companies in the world. Led by this rule we joined forces with 3M and launched Innovation Mind Program – a change project focusing on their corporate culture. With the aid of regular trainings, discussion breakfasts and all-day ideation workshops we are unlocking the innovative potential of 3M employees and we are helping the company to find new ways to innovation and profit.

Falling sales? New markets as a solution

What can you do with a product that has been on a market for a while and the sales curve is not growing? You bring it to a new market! That is exactly what we did at 3M and it was a great success. As part of the Innovation Mind Program we inspire and train 3M employees to think differently and to take a new approach. However, an innovation without action is just a hallucination. That is why we created a full year program focusing on prototyping and sales. The program had a clear goal – to increase 3M’s 2014 profits.

How did we do it?

Together with Jan Mašek, Innovation Leader at 3M, we picked projects that had a potential to fill the innovation pipeline and bring about the desired outcomes. Our team was put in charge of products, that could be of interest to people with active lifestyle. We selected a network of outdoor equipment stores where we could potentially sell these products and hosted a workshop with the outdoor lovers. The outcome was clear – two products from the product line with a great market potential and verification of the price for which we can sell it.

Into action!

We tested these two products using empathetic design. We set up sales booths in outdoor equipment stores in two shopping centers in Prague, taught 3M people to sell with a story and waited for the results. It was a great success! We sold more than 30 pieces of the products. Soon after 3M received an order for these products to be sold in outdoor equipment stores across the Czech Republic.

“3M is a company with a wide range of products. Our products are high quality and I fully believe in them. Therefore I see a great potential in entering new markets. However, potential is just a potential unless you test it. That is what Direct People is helping 3M to do.”

David Vrba 
CEO 3M

About 3M

3M is an American company, that is now operating all over the world. They specialize in technology development and innovation in 12 different areas, ranging from automotive, energy and health care all the way to consumer goods. In each of these areas they produce a large number of products for professional and well as commercial use.