How EMC reignited its innovation program

Three years ago, when Calvin Smith took over The Innovation Network, the internal innovation initiative at the data storage and software giant EMC Corp., he identified a challenge that he felt could prove fatal to the program. “We had an innovation conference that was building morale and excitement,” Smith explains. “We were getting lots of ideas from employees. But if somebody asked, ‘What is happening with those ideas?’ the answer was typically silence, which is not a good thing.”

So here’s how Smith and his team shook things up.

1. Sharpen the mission

The team is situated within the Office of the Chief Technology Officer at EMC. Its initial mission statement was “fostering the creation of high-value ideas for the company.” Smith changed it to “fostering the creation and delivery of high-value ideas for the company,” with a big emphasis on “delivery.”

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