Vodafone’s open innovation success story

Original story here

The multinational telecommunication company had novel thoughts for revamping the marketing plans for its youth-focused package, Vodafone You. Beyond being hip and trendy to appeal to young customers, the Vodafone marketing team realized that to establish a deeper connection with Generation Z, they need to tap into the characteristics and values of these digital natives, being: a passion for entrepreneurship, co-creation, openness, and self-fulfillment.

Their objective was to stimulate interaction with students, a huge sector of their target. They had to show they care and speak as an honest brand supporting the self-development of young people. They set out to seek engagement with thousands of students through a collaborative digital platform.

Collaborative and digital are the key words.

They looked for a digital way to engage the digital natives — very fitting. Together with Be-novative, the online platform built for collective creativity, their open innovation campaign was birthed. They achieved:

500+ early stage ideas

50 top concepts

Branding power

Service innovation

Here is how they did it.

The team created an edgy project focused on instigating mass interaction around the digital self-actualization of college students and those consciously planning for their career post-graduation.

They opened up a challenge question on the online innovation platform and asked university students to give their ideas for digital solutions that could help them boost their studies. 525 ideas were produced in 16 days.

The creativity-enhancing approach combined with their viral social media campaign brought in these outstanding results. The messages and the motivating prizes resonated well with the tens of thousands of students reached, with 2–300 likes on average to each post. 500+ early stage ideas were developed and peer-evaluated through online collaboration nationwide.

The 50 crowd-evaluated top concepts were then assessed by the Vodafone team: 25 of the best ideators were invited to a closing event to work with eight senior executives from all departments on turning the best ideas into reality (this is the motivating reward).

Notwithstanding their initial objectives, at the end of the successful marketing campaign, Vodafone decided that it was no time to stop. Three of the projects that came out of the joint effort was so remarkable that they needed to be turned into actual new services.

Now that is what you call innovation success.

If you orchestrate your innovation efforts and tools for a deep connection your participants care about it will be the most important element in reaching the flow state. Do not be surprised though if the flow takes you to radically new directions, surpassing your expectations. In flow, always expect the unexpected.

Read eight more success stories like this in the free innovation best practices ebook here.

Be-novative is a Design Thinking and Innovation platform that helps organizations build breakthroughs collaboratively. http://be-novative.com @benovative

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