Bolstered by a R1-million prize, C-suite backing, and a portal developed by Decision Inc, Adcorp’s Dragons’ Den initiative has harnessed the innovative ideas of its South African employees to generate an expected profit of R300-million over the next five years.
Established in 1975, the Adcorp Group operates across three continents and is active in 10 countries. It has more than 100 000 employees and generates a revenue in excess of $1-billion.
Adcorp offers workforce management and resourcing solutions, permanent recruitment and selection, professional services, managed services providers, vendor management systems, business process outsourcing, functional outsourcing, HR consulting, analytics, advisory, and training.
The Adcorp Group is committed to driving a culture of innovation across its operations. To this end, it wanted to set up a programme designed to elicit ideas from staff members around not only how to improve the business but also disrupt operations in a future-forward way.
The group needed to ensure that the programme would be exciting and engaging to get as many employees as possible to participate. To achieve the objective, it launched the Dragons’ Den initiative that would see employees submit ideas through a central platform, get those ideas reviewed by the leadership team, and potentially win R1-million if successful.
“All corporates struggle to get innovation going in a business. The question is how do you get a broad base of employees to share their ideas and get them excited by the process? The Dragons’ Den is a great way to do so especially given the wow prize we have at the end,” says Ferdi Gazendam, executive of Adcorp Shared Services at Adcorp Holdings.
However, he says it is a challenging process to take the concept from the idea stage through to implementation.
“We focused on getting buy-in from the CEO, COO, and CFO. Ultimately, this becomes a self-paying scheme unless there are absolutely zero ideas coming from employees which would be highly unlikely.”
For this campaign to work, the group needed a technology platform that could provide the integration and user-friendliness required as well as help communicate effectively to its staff across South Africa.
The Adcorp Group decided to partner with Decision Inc for the project, given its existing successful relationship with the organisation.
“The group already had an extensive investment in the Microsoft SharePoint 2013 platform and was looking to leverage that. Our experience on SharePoint as well as recently developing an innovation system for the City of Tshwane meant we were perfectly aligned with the vision of Adcorp for this project,” says Craig Gillham, executive for content and collaboration at Decision Inc.
Decision Inc worked closely with the team at Adcorp to develop an attractive and mobile-responsive web site branded with the unique personality associated to the Dragons’ Den initiative.
The system had to be capable of processing the tracking of ideas, create reports where needed, and have notifications built-in to ensure staff and the leadership team (the Dragons) were aware of what was going on.
The stand-alone system development was a fast-paced two-month project, with the programme running for eight months. It has additional smart functionality built-in to enable people to rate ideas and keep coming back for more information.
“What really made this project a success was the leadership buy-in from Adcorp as well as the great incentives used to motivate staff to enter. The client also made a significant investment in marketing strategies around the initiative to supplement the work done on the SharePoint platform and web site,” says Gillham.
“This project is a great example of our trusted relationship with our clients. Adcorp came up with the concept and we developed the technology solution around that to enable the process. More than 150 ideas were submitted in the first campaign,” says Gillham.
Such was the success, Adcorp decided to award two candidates with R1-million each in recognition of their great ideas. These ideas, along with others submitted in the competition, are expected to generate an additional R300-million over five years. Adcorp are now busy with round two, a global launch, including Australia, Singapore, and the rest of Africa.
“Adding an international footprint does introduce new complexities such as finding clever ways to utilise video conferencing. However, the experience of Decision Inc. in the SharePoint space will greatly assist in this regard. They have definitely been a valuable partner in this project to date,” concludes Gazendom.