From live chat to wireless projection: the power of creating an innovation team

From live chat to wireless projection: the power of creating an innovation team

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If you’re looking for a way to engage young IT professionals within your organization, consider turning to them for simple ideas that can help make people work better.

At GE Energy, I’ve built an innovation team of about 14 early-career employees who advise me on simple things they believe we should and shouldn’t do. The team serves as a forum where members come up with real solutions for nagging problems.

A lot of their ideas don’t take a whole lot of money to do. They just need to be empowered to go do it.

One idea they’ve approached me with was adding more ways to interact with the IT help desk, such as live chat and even a Facetime option. Another example was a simple but helpful idea to address an annoying problem facing our Mac users. It seemed to never fail that whenever we had a meeting, someone with a Mac would need to project something on the big screen, but they didn’t have their dongle with them. So our innovation team simply said, let’s fix all of that. They suggested putting an Apple TV in all six of the conference rooms in our building, allowing Mac users to come in and simply wirelessly send what is on their screen to the Apple TV. It’s a little thing with a small price tag. But now no one complains about forgetting their dongle.

I really enjoy meeting with these young, talented employees to hear their ideas. I know they enjoy it, too. Another benefit to empowering these early-career employees is that it helps them feel like they’re part of the organization, which is a great tool for retention.

I'd love to hear about some of the ways you’re empowering young IT professionals at your organization. If you gather a group together over lunch and ask some questions – “What are doing today that we should stop doing? What are doing today that we should continue to do? What are we not doing today that we should do?” – you may be surprised by how much useful content you get back.

Venki Rao is the Chief Information Officer at GE Digital Energy.

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