For companies looking to accelerate innovation, why not open up a competition for smaller companies to bring ideas, new technology, and entrepreneurship to offer solutions for business problems at your company? This is exactly what Citi did.
I recently had the opportunity to present Cooleaf as part Citi’s Smarter Worklife Tech Innovation challenge. Here is the summary of the challenge from Citi.
“Digital Innovations are affecting every part of Citi’s business including its internal operations.
Smarter Worklife Challenge enabled by Digital Acceleration within Citi Fintech invited selected technology companies to a crowd-sourcing initiative to identify innovative human resources technologies to improve “Employee Journey”.
We received 133 submissions from 21 countries, out of which selected 19 Finalists presented their solutions to Citi Leadership at a Demo Day in NYC on February 11, 2016.”
Cooleaf was one of the finalists to present in NYC near Citi’s headquarters. Each company had 8 minutes to present and there was a strong emphasis on sharing a live product demo. The attendees of the event were a combination of Citi executives along with other executives from Citi partners such as PwC who were interested in what solutions would be presented.
We were assigned two RMs (Relationship Managers) that were subject matters experts at Citi that helped give guidance on our presentation and how best to align Cooleaf’s solution to solve specific problems that would most likely result in interest from Citi’s leadership team to do a pilot.
Here is a video of my presentation.
Citi has a huge volunteer and community service program where hundreds of events are organized each year around the world. The challenge for Citi is to maximize awareness about these events for employees to engage in them. There is also a challenge in managing the logistics of employees registering and communications for each local event. We found that much of the logistics are done manually and Cooleaf could add significant value by automating internal processes for Citi while also helping to maximize awareness and engagement into the existing programs that Citi has invested in.
Our proposed pilot for Citi was to create a branded web and mobile employee community platform that is part of the employee on-boarding process. When a new employee joins the company, they would quickly have access to many types of employee resource groups inside Citi to build connections with other employees based on common interest and to also be plugged into the many volunteer and community service opportunities that Citi sponsors.
I’m very proud to say that Cooleaf was one of the eight companies chosen to participate in a pilot with Citi but also one of the three companies selected to receive a cash award!
These types of events are great to help promote innovation. The large company wins by having many smaller companies compete to offer the most innovative solution to a business problem while the smaller companies have an opportunity to then work with a large customer that they most likely would not have had. In addition, there is a great PR opportunity.
I hope to see more of these types of events in the future and would be happy to share more details with anyone interested in hosting this type of event for their company.