Using a Company Brainstorm for Employee-driven Innovation: A Case Study

By Balder Onarheim.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents experiences from an employee-driven innovation (EDI) project at Coloplast A/S, a major international corporation specializing in medical devices. Being a front-end innovation project, the purpose was to collect a substantial number of ideas in a catalogue of future products and product areas within the Urology and Continence Care market. By drawing on a large number of employees from several backgrounds and nationalities, the company sought to combine existing knowledge in the company – turning company knowledge into new products and product areas.
This paper is: 1) describing the theoretical foundation for EDI and the project at Coloplast; 2) describing Coloplast and the reasons for them to explore an EDI strategy; 3) explaining the considerations made by the core team in the set up of the process; 4) describing the actual execution of the project; 5) presenting reflections from the participants, the facilitators and the researcher; and 6) raising questions for further EDI research.
The innovation process involved 93 employees from 11 departments and 4 international subsidiaries. The duration of the project was about 8 weeks, including presentations, feedback sessions and 12 creative workshops; resulting in 99 ideas within 26 different categories. An expert team then selected 12 ideas for further investigations. The researcher participated in the project core team that planned and executed the project.

Keywords: Employee-driven Innovation, Cross-departmental Collaboration, Engineering Design, Innovation, Employee-involvement, Cross-departmental Innovation, Case Study, Employee participation, Innovation, Cross-disciplinary, Interdisciplinary

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.347-354. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 621.476KB).

Balder Onarheim

PhD Fellow, Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Norwegian industrial designer, educated from Oslo School of Architecture and Design with training and experience within management and organization, psychology, entrepreneurship, sales and education.


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