'Two-way Learning' Key to Ci&T 's Innovative Culture

Ann All
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A while back I wrote a post about coaching as a tool to help keep employees engaged and boost their professional development. The idea of coaching came up in my recent discussion with Leonardo Mattiazzi, VP of international business for Brazil-based application development services provider Ci&T, as it's a key part of the company's Entrepreneurship Program. The program gives Ci&T employees the resources and ability to pursue their own projects from within the company's walls.

 

As Mattiazzi explained it, each employee selected to participate in the program chooses a member or two of the executive team to provide mentoring as the employee brings his idea to fruition. The employee isn't the only one who benefits from the arrangement. It's a "two-way learning experience," said Mattiazzi, with the executive gaining experience in launching new products, an area outside his or her usual purview of application management.

 

In addition, the program offers benefits even for employees not actively participating in the program. Mattiazzi said:

... Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur or develop their own apps. But everyone does want to be in a place that creates room for these kinds of projects. They want to be among creative, high-performing people. It helps create an environment where employees are proud to be working with bright people, and they know the company will be receptive to their ideas. ...

It may also help Ci&T win business in new markets. Both of the first two projects produced by employee entrepreneurs involve consumer products. And it may boost their flagship business by reinforcing the idea that Ci&T is a creative and innovative company, not just a body shop with employees cranking out code. Ci&T recently introduced a new service called Accelerate, a solution created to help startups launch new products as quickly as possible. Mattiazzi said:

Because we are doing this ourselves, we are in a better position to offer it externally.


The program is probably one of the best examples I've seen of a company fostering an innovative culture. Too often I think companies feel they must create an "innovation plan" and present it in a way that it becomes just another chore for employees. Those efforts are bound to fail, because innovation initiatives must engage rank-and-file employees, a point made by Allison Dahl, who manages communication and engagement for IdeaNet, the internal Pitney Bowes open innovation program. I cited Dahl's advice in a recent post called "Getting Everyone Involved in Innovation Initiatives."



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 30, 2011 8:03 AM Octavian Paler Octavian Paler  says:

This article inspired me to apply for online pair (2 or more) programming. I'm a newbie, currently taking my degree in human services who just happens to be one of the 5 project owners so it would be a two way learning experience. I would like to learn the basics of programming and I could show you around the mindmelder codebase. If anyone wants to pair up then just let me know and we can tee up a time.

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