“We have implemented 106 ideas and collected 70 new product ideas.”

USTER, Medium-Sized Business

If you are familiar with the textile machinery industry, USTER Technologies needs no introduction. USTER has been a global leader in textile quality control for the last 70 years.

Today, with 4500 customers across 75 countries and 3,5 million systems installed worldwide, the USTER brand is a synonym for the highest quality standard in the industry. The company has been extremely successful in implementing new technologies one step ahead of competitors which for the large part can be accredited to the innovative creativity of their staff. A company with more than 300 active patents admits that innovation and creativity are crucial to their existence.

“Innovation and creativity are fundamental to our business. In order to provide the best solutions to our customers and in order to exist in this very competitive market as a market leader we have to be innovative. Innovation is essential for our company”, says Giovanni Simeoni, a manager of Yarn Clearing at USTER.

Giovanni is also the leader behind USTER’s corporate-level strategic initiative called “Idea Management System”. Fully powered by Ideanote, USTER’s Idea Management System (IMS) is tailored to match its truly multinational team of 650 employees across 4 different technology centers worldwide.

Q&A with Giovanni

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Why did USTER decide to adopt an online idea management platform?

A few years back, in one of our leadership summits, we reached a decision that in order to stay innovative and creative we need to have an idea management system. In other words, we needed a system for collecting and processing all kinds of ideas–continuous improvement ideas, breakthrough innovations, and new product ideas. More than that, we needed a standardized process for the whole organization worldwide.

What did you do before you used Ideanote?

So, before using Ideanote we didn’t have any structured online system for collecting ideas, and certainly not for collecting ideas worldwide. Individual teams had their local solutions, such as collecting ideas on project reports or in one of the many minutes. But we didn’t have any structural process worldwide.

Today, we have around 500 active users. We have four different ways of collecting ideas, such as missions for general suggestions in a specific location (i.e. local idea boxes), open-ended missions for product improvements, open-end missions on specific topics or targeted time-limited missions (i.e. idea campaigns).

The process is supervised by a core team of five people, each responsible for implementing IMS in their location. What is more, each of the missions is also supervised by an appointed idea facilitator. All of them have clearly formulated roles that are communicating via internal training tools.

"We reached a decision that in order to stay innovative and creative we need to have an idea management system."

We use Ideanote to submit not only ideas and suggestions but also problems that doesn’t have a solution yet. We have witnessed some remarkable success cases here when a person shared a problem and other staff members quickly jumped in to discuss the best possible solution and implement it in a very short window of time.

How active are USTER employees in your ideation platform?

So, before launching our Ideanote platform we set a target to reach a 50% engagement level. Today, we are proud to share that at least 70% of USTER employees actively participate in our idea management system. That is around 500 active users.

Was it difficult to reach such high engagement levels?

I think, 90% of these people joined Ideanote on their own initiative, maybe because of curiosity. Through corporate objectives, we actively communicate the importance of cross-functional collaboration by sharing ideas and we also celebrate the success stories inspired by these ideas. So, people get inspired to post ideas and suggestions themselves.

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Transparency is a very important part of the platform. It is important for people to be able to see what happened to their ideas. People want to know who is looking at their ideas, what happens to the idea in each phase, who comments on it, etc. Ideanote allows them to observe their input directly. To further that we also created recognition and reward initiatives on the local and global levels in order to reinforce this feeling. We celebrate small and big achievements and give credit to participants and active contributors.

My favorite feature is phases. Each posted idea goes through four phases: Grow, Rate, Act and Done. This provides a lot of transparency and supports the process of handling ideas very well. Now, we can also move the ideas by simple drag & drop functionality, which makes it even easier. Another very important feature is the ability to assign people to an idea that is ready to be implemented. It makes the whole process very efficient.

By using Ideanote USTER has collected 510 new ideas. With a 70% engagement rate, the company has already implemented 106 of these.

Recently we have also collected 70 product improvement and new product ideas, which are already evaluated by the company. For sure we will not be able to implement all of them, but it’s amazing to have an overview of where we can improve, which new features we could implement, and which new products we could launch into the market.

Innovation made simple.

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