Technology, Construction


We built an innovation funnel to source ideas from across their organization that lowers operating costs and generates a pipeline of new business opportunities.


Embracing Open Innovation


The Challenge

SearchCo's data centers division historically prioritized incremental improvements to align with internal stakeholder needs. However, the emergence of AI represented an exponential discontinuity, as customer demands for immediate AI solutions collided with the division's linear growth forecasts. With new AI platforms launching daily, SearchCo struggled to realign its legacy innovation processes with the pace of external change. Closing this strategy gap was an existential imperative, as falling behind technologically would cede market share to hungry competitors.


Our Approach

We took a systematic approach to identify gaps in SearchCo's innovation strategy and realign priorities. This included a holistic analysis of their capabilities, processes, metrics, and culture across all organizational pillars. We also conducted ethnographic interviews with frontline employees and customers to surface unmet needs and insights unavailable from top-down strategic planning. This revealed innovative ideas already incubating within the organization but a lack of mechanisms to nurture and scale them under rigid status quo systems.


The Solution

Our open innovation funnel provided the architecture to break down silos, facilitate collaboration, and empower bottom-up innovation. Rapid prototyping leveraged cross-functional expertise rather than narrow research. Enabling employees like Mike to quickly validate novel solutions built confidence in the new grassroots approach. Mike exemplified this, devising an ingenious way to transport computing resources faster and cheaper than SearchCo's typical 3-year development cycle.


The Results

Within 3 months, the funnel generated over 20 promising ideas to expand SearchCo's innovation pipeline. Leadership actively supported creative risk-taking, reframing rigid constraints as growth opportunities. Quick wins helped prove the viability of the innovation playbook while meeting immediate cost and capability goals. But more importantly, the repeatable, scalable funnel provides an ongoing structure to nourish ideas from all levels and functions. This sustains momentum by embedding innovation into cultural DNA - disrupting from within rather than playing catchup to external disruption.


SearchCo transitioned into an open innovation organization, sourcing ideas from inside and outside the company to meet accelerated customer needs. New idea generation increased through the transparent sharing of resources, knowledge, and decision-making.

About SearchCo

SearchCo is one of the most valuable and recognized technological giants in history.

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