Asking for ideas from employees has become one of the most effective ways to innovate for today’s organizations. During our latest innovationHUB, we interviewed Rubén Hernández, Director of the project BS idea at Banco Sabadell, a community that uses crowdsourcing processes to gather proposals from the bank’s employees. The impact this initiative has had is not only measured in terms of innovation, but also in terms of attracting talent or changing the company culture.
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Innovadores (I): How would you define the BS idea project and its impact at Banco Sabadell?
Rubén Hernández (RH): BS idea is a driver for transformation for Banco Sabadell, based on gathering ideas of every kind from employees that contribute to improving the institution every day, either through process or product optimization, or even by generating new solutions.
I: As it is a project that focuses on people, does it also have an effect on them and their role within the organization?
RH: There is certainly a very clear impact in terms of a change in culture, because it teaches very interesting values for any organization, like co-creation and transparency. Both are very valuable particularly in large companies, where departments sometimes have a certain tendency to work in isolation from each other.
I: To what degree does this co-creation work help to break up departmental silos?
RH: BS idea has given rise to a way of relating with each other that is based on collaboration, for example by facilitating collaboration—in our case—between branches and central services. In an organization like ours, with over 26,000 employees worldwide, this adds great value. Another issue is transparency, because every employee can see and know about everyone else’s ideas.
I: Can that visibility for ideas also provide information from its authors that might otherwise go unseen?
RH: The community also helps to detect internal talent, and helps us get to know employees, doing so based on their professional activity and achievements. In this respect, it is a very interesting tool to engage entrepreneurs and talent. But its effect does not end there. Because of its cross-cutting nature it is also a generator for a new culture within the organization, and creates content related to innovation.
I: What role does that content play in the community’s operation? How does the bank stimulate idea generation and their relationship with its objectives?
RH: Regarding idea generation, when we request ideas we try to leave a window that is open enough not to inhibit creativity. This increases the impact achieved on employees and the bank itself. Besides, work is continuous behind the community and there is a calendar to stimulate participation. For example, we promote a quarterly competition to gather cross-cutting ideas throughout the organization. But we also focus on generating strategic challenges related to much more specific objectives.
Download (free pdf) the complete case study of the project BS idea by Banco Sabadell.