February 23rd, 2021
As the saying goes, sometimes it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. This saying not only applies to our favorite companions but also businesses across the world.
When times are good, business feels stable, and there seems to be no need for change or innovation. It's easy to become complacent and stagnant. If a company is unwilling to change or innovate, it can quickly become obsolete in the fast-paced world we live in.
So how can you identify if change or growth is needed? The answer: In this fast-paced world where technology is exponentially growing, growth is always needed.
At Saint-Gobain Bearings, we have always taken pride in being an industry leader in developing bearings and tolerance rings.
But the question continually arose in our team meetings and groupthinks:
Our mission at Saint-Gobain is to push the limits continually and shatter the barriers of what we think is possible.
Back in 2015, we realized we had the minds and brainpower that we needed within our organization to make a true impact in engineering innovation. We had certain areas of expertise and were superb in our niche, but it was just that.
We were the masters of one.
If we brought in outside engineers, experts, and professionals, then we knew we could combine thought, experience, and perspective to create innovation and stimulate change.
We were confident that we had some of the top Engineering minds dispersed throughout the company, but most of them worked in different departments and rarely got to discuss what other team members were working on. Cross-functional communication is a challenge on its own, but to place experts in various industries in the same room to work on brand new projects and analyze the various potential would be entirely different.
We needed to eliminate distractions, tear down barriers and allow the best minds to speak openly, freely, and allow thoughts and ideas to become a reality. What we needed was the innovation challenge.
This video captures the spirit of the innovation challenge. Focusing on the automotive market, it shows how our experts and volunteers made a big difference.
The innovation challenge shattered our expectations of what we thought was possible. We handpicked some internal explorers in our organization and placed them in a room with external experts to create rapid innovation and stimulate creativity.
We gathered these experts in one room, provided everyone access to thousands of parts from stripped-down vehicles, and set the timer to 48 hours.
Two days later, we had created 218 new ideas that were ready to be tested and brought to life.
Innovation means nothing if you do not take action on your thoughts and ideas. Implementation is crucial in stimulating growth and creating change, so after the off-road challenge had concluded, we put the ideas to the test.
We knew our experts were passionate and competitive, so we gave each team three weeks to develop presentations on why their idea was the best.
After each team had presented, we voted on the top 5 ideas, and then the real work began—the challenge of bringing thought and ideas to life.
Once five ideas had been voted on and declared the winners, we took these ideas back home to the CreateLab, where ideas come to life. We brought 20 explorers and had 40 volunteers.
To keep the competitive nature and drive alive, we gave each team 24 hours to bring their ideas to a testable product and have a presentation ready to pitch it back to the business.
This was an incredible thing to witness just in terms of innovation. Still, now, we got to witness some of our team members transform into leaders, innovators, and collaborators on a whole new level.
After finding such incredible success with our internal growth from this 48-hour period of engineering innovation, we had unlocked something powerful.
This experiment showed us that when presented with engineering challenges, one of the best things we can do is put different thoughts, ideas, and experts in one place.
This allows them to speak openly and freely and use the strengths of others to bring ideas to life.
With our mission foundation in making a big difference, we knew we had to share this breakthrough with other companies and customers.
We decided to offer the opportunity for select clients to work with us and have us lead them through the process to find their growth and innovation.
After finding success managing these sorts of events, it has become an incredible new service that we like to offer for customers here at Saint-Gobain.
We allow companies to bring forward their problems or ideas, and we will handpick a team of Saint-Gobain engineers that will lead their teams in finding the solutions to their problems.
We provide all companies with our facilities and brightest minds and lead them through a two to three-day challenge to stimulate engineering innovation.
The aim of these engineering Hackathons is to work through the ideation stage, all the way to the prototyping and testing phase in just three days.
This can expedite innovation from 3-6 months to a matter of 3 days. Your projects, our facilities, and everyone's experts are working to create breakthroughs in your business.
Now, we realize that not everyone can afford to take 2 to 3 full days to experience the true benefits of the engineering Hackathon, so we put together a secondary option for businesses.
Using cross-functional teams is pivotal in the innovation process, and we want to provide all customers the opportunity to experience true engineering innovation.
This thought was the birth of Tech Days.
Tech Days can be remote or in-house. However, the premise is to put together your engineering experts with ours and discuss unique challenges you’re facing.
Our experts at Saint-Gobain will provide insights and expertise from a new perspective and create drastic growth in your engineering innovations.
Our Innovation Challenge truly revolutionized the way our company thinks and operates. It created incredible growth in areas that we never knew were even possible, and more than that, it created a sense of belonging and purpose within our organization.
If you are looking to create an influx of innovation and do so at record-breaking speeds, working through either our engineering Hackathon or Tech Days is the perfect solution for your business.
Allow our engineers to become your outside perspective, fresh outlook, and needed level of expertise.
We will take away the pain of figuring out how to go from an idea to a new ready-to-market product for your business.
Our team at Saint-Gobain are on hand to help you develop new technologies and use engineering to push boundaries. You can contact us using the contact us form or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re on hand to discuss any engineering challenge you are facing.