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This is part three in a series of four posts on how Vistaprint has been implementing Enterprise 2.0 at their organization.  Today we continue the discussion with more information on change management followed by a focus on the ideation work.

There were two key organizational changes that happened as a result of their E2.0 implementation efforts.  The first was the creation of a full-time innovation management position.  The purpose of this position was to ensure that the right ideas got in front of the right people.  This position was also used to make employees aware of the successes that occurred as a result of collaborative idea sharing and to generate excitement around the ideation program.

The second change that occurred was the creation of a knowledge management group.  Ninety-five percent of the effort came from people, process, training, adoption, and roll out and only 5% from technology.  The knowledge management group was required to address all of these inputs and to help keep Vistaprint’s Enterprise 2.0 endeavors moving in the right direction.

Intuit’s Brainstorm platform has been in use at Vistaprint since March 2009, so it’s relatively new.  Ideation was a significant area of focus at Vistaprint.  Because Brainstorm was very easy to use,  Vistaprint’s broad community were happy to use it.  However, where shift needed to take place was around the habits of managers at functional level.  Managers needed to take ideas seriously and had to review them on a regular basis, otherwise the ideation program would become useless.   There had to be action taken on the ideas, or employees would stop participating.

Brainstorm connects through an active directory of employees which means that there was no additional sign up required.  Vistaprint’s goal of the ideation platform was quite simple: connect the right ideas to the right people and then take action on those ideas.  There were many ideas submitted through Brainstorm so the response time to an idea was within 6 weeks.  Sometimes responses happened much sooner, some even on the same day.  Others longer depending on the complexity of the ideas.  Those would require testing before being executed.  Typically, it took Vistaprint approximately 6 months to go from idea conception to idea delivery (note this does not mean response time but actual implementation).

For the wiki, the engineer project began in mid-2006.  In March 2007, the capabilities team opened up the wiki to small test group.  In late 2007/early 2008, Vistaprint made the wiki accessible company-wide (their knowledge management project).  Finally, in September 2008, the wiki opened company-wide.

We covered the wiki usage stats in the previous post; here are the stats for the ideation platform:

  • Vistaprint employs approximately 1950 people
  • In the last 30 days, there have been 373 active users
  • Employees submitted 415 unique ideas
  • A total of 1462 ideas have been submitted

Adoption of new technologies is paramount to Vistaprint’s success.   To enable adoption,  tactics to encourage employee usage included:

  • Internal newsletter that talks about the ideation platform
  • Employee recognition for those who contribute and collaborate on ideas
  • Training on the new tools/technologies (every new hire is also given training)
  • Creating awareness via a company-wide email when new features are added
  • Happy hour to celebrate submitted ideas.  Vistaprint tries to make each idea an opportunity to celebrate (which we think is interesting and clever)

A key strategy to the wiki adoption has been training.  Employees are encouraged to get the information live and not to worry about any formatting.  If they could get the information into one location, the knowledge management team would take care of the rest.  Again, the knowledge management team was the key driving force behind adoption, and maintaining and organizing the information and preserving standards.

Key takeaways

  • New roles/departments were created.  The innovation management position was responsible for the ideation platform and the knowledge management team for the wiki.
  • Functional habits of managers need to change so that ideas are taken more seriously and given focus.
  • The ideation platform has been in use since March of 2009 and over 20% of the company has submitted a unique idea.
  • The wiki project began in 2006 and only launched company wide 26 months later.
  • Vistaprint undertook several initiatives to help encourage and increase adoption.  They took a proactive stance rather than launch the project and allow it to grow organically.

Read previous posts from this series:

Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Vistaprint Part One: Business Drivers

Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Vistaprint Part Two: Change Management

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