Bad Dog, No Biscuit: The Challenges of Doing New Things in an Established Organization
Valerie Bowe, Engineering Director, Strategy and Innovation, Unisys Corporation
Brittney Burchett, Software Engineer, Unisys Corporation
What do you get when you mix a 142 year-old company with a 2 year-old innovation incubation startup? Creativity, new ideas, excitement - oh...and a whole lot of lessons learned.
Unisys decided it was time to start changing the culture that had developed throughout its long history. With a unique solution in mind, they partnered with Walnut St. Labs to redefine the meaning of “hackathon”. We called it “#protocomp2015” – a 4 week long, user interface prototyping competition and innovation festival. But we didn’t stop there. Toss in “micro-courses” on Design Thinking, Agile Methodologies and Security, and the teams no longer wanted to participate solely for a cash prize, but for the chance to be a part of something different! With a project centered on new concepts for the Unisys Stealth product, we asked the contestants to create prototypes of a possible new user interface. By the way, did we mention that no coding was required? By not requiring participants to be in tech, this opened the doors to a wide variety of backgrounds from 14 year-old wiz kids to graphic artists and marketing experts, with everything in between. What started as a wild idea, blossomed into a reality that delivered spectacular results, both hard and soft. The competition gave us exactly what we needed – new ideas, realizations and most importantly, culture changes throughout our engineering organization. Learn the story of the event, the challenges we all overcame and the results. Understand the importance of forming unusual partnerships and trying something completely different. Brittney Burchett and Valerie Bowe will share their lessons learned and the keys to success for a big company to partner with a startup around innovation.