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HCL Technologies

MAD JAM 2012 - Forrester Groundswell Award Nomination

Turn your employees into a self-sustaining innovation platform

At HCL we believe there is no barrier to what an employee can do to have a truly positive and ground breaking impact on their customer’s business. In fact, our employees collaborate every day with customers across their innovation process to generate tangible business value. This strategy works in today’s environment where many companies are rethinking their business models and moving towards creating platforms that allow partners to jointly create value. Web 2.0 tools, of course, is one of the key enablers of this growing need for collaborative innovation. Let’s take a closer look at how we changed the way we innovate for our customers at HCL.

Let employees create and drive their own innovation experience

At HCL we believe that in most value-driven services organizations, actual value is delivered to the customer at the interface between frontline employees and customers. At HCL, we call this the “Value Zone”. Therefore, by empowering employees, we are enabling them to create more value for the customer – this philosophy, also called “Employees First Customer Second” or EFCS has been at heart of every great idea we have developed for customers and their business. The journey started with EFCS 1.0, where the management undertook many initiatives to enthuse, encourage and empower frontline employees to deliver maximum value to our customers.  It was “Management-driven and Employee-embraced”. Over time, the philosophy evolved into EFCS 2.0 which places the onus of the change on the employees. Today, every initiative and idea is “Employee-driven management-embraced”, because the employees are at the forefront of change.

A strong manifestation of the EFCS 2.0 philosophy is the MAD JAM initiative. MAD JAM or “Make a Difference JAMboree” placed unrelenting focus on a culture of innovation in the Value Zone by celebrating innovative ideas and the teams behind those ideas.

MAD JAM with its game show format based on “American Idol” brought into spotlight ideas from the Value Creation Portal (a platform in HCL to feed and develop innovative solutions in collaboration with the customers) which were implemented in the customer’s business after approval. MAD JAM worked as the perfect platform to bring all of these ideas from different business units together to showcase across HCL.

1. Community of people who build together and innovate stronger

While the first edition of MAD JAM was led by the leadership team at the corporate level; the second edition was even bigger and saw the Employee community take over the entire process.

A self-propelling start

Soon after the launch of the second edition of MAD JAM, the responsibility to drive participation was taken over by employees at all levels. Delivery teams started approaching their managers with ideas they wanted to nominate for MAD JAM 2012 and vice versa. It became a peer-to-peer communication.

  • Communities/groups were created by the employees on HCL MeMe (HCL’s internal social networking platform) to start discussions on MAD JAM nominations (This ended up being a 1000 member strong community)
  • As interest around the initiative started growing, the employee engagement team members started approaching MAD JAM program managers seeking more details about it. They then launched events across HCL facilities that promoted MAD JAM.  The events reached out 10000+ employees across facilities
  • The previous year’s MAD JAM participants also got involved by coaching their teammates on how to nominate their ideas

This massive participation drive done by employees at the grass root level, resulted in 270 idea entries (these ideas were approved by customers and implemented in CY 2012) from 800+ employees.


2. Rethinking the ‘reward & recognition’ strategy

A panel consisting of 70+ senior business leaders evaluated and rated the idea submissions on business specific parameters. The top 2-3 of these rated ideas were selected from each Line of Business (LoB). A total of 19 ideas that created revenue/savings of USD 33 million for our customers proceeded to the next round of MAD JAM.

Seeking Wisdom of Crowds

The shortlisted ideas were then converted into animated films covering 3 key areas:

  • The business problem which led to the development of the solution
  • The solution and how it was different from other offerings in the industry
  • Impact of the solution on the customer’s business

These films were shared across the HCL Intranet and employees were encouraged to vote for their favorite ideas. This was not only beneficial for MAD JAM but it also ensured that innovation happening inside the organization was thrown open to all employees.

What happened next was something phenomenal!

  • The individual teams that submitted the ideas started running their own mailer campaigns to seek votes from employees
  • Team members started showcasing their ideas to employees in their facilities to showcase the solution and garner more votes
  • HCL MeMe was flooded with messages from teams asking employees to vote for their ideas
  • Business line heads also got involved and wrote to their teams to vote for the MAD ideas
  • The HR team came up with an idea to play the idea films in common areas across facilities
  • The employee engagement team organized quiz contests designed around the ideas which resulted in amazing participation from employees

The power of MAD JAM was growing each day, and it soon became an initiative championed and run by 90000 HCL employees. The strong campaigning resulted in 42300 votes received by 23000 employees, 60% rise from last year.

Employees even started approaching the MAD JAM Program Management Office asking for ways to make their idea big enough to participate in next edition of MAD JAM!

The finale: HCL’s Innovator’s Conference

As a result of the massive participation from employees, 8 ideas were shortlisted for the finale that took place at HCL’s Innovator’s Conference. The teams behind these ideas were invited and also mentored by the CEO. At the conference, the teams presented their ideas to the jury and were questioned on several areas including scope, future potential, scalability of the idea etc.

At the end of the idea teams’ presentation, the panel decided and declared the MAD Idea for 2012. In addition to the winning idea, the participating teams selected one idea amongst themselves basis the same parameters as used by the jury. This idea was then declared as the Innovator’s MAD Idea 2012.

4. Paying close attention to customer driven innovation

The Value Creation Portal from where the MAD JAM ideas were picked in the initial stages, is a collaborative platform which brings together not just HCL employees, but also employees from the customer’s organization, to co-create value. The portal also brings together multiple groups (multiple technology groups that work for the same customer), from multiple locations (distributed workforce), and multiple domains (for cross domain best practices) to enable sharing of knowledge, ideas and solutions to address common goals/problems.

As of today, the Value Creation Portal has:

  • 350 customer engagements onboard
  • Over 10000 employees involved in idea-generation
  • 12596 ideas generated from its inception till June 30, 2012
  • 2242 ideas worth $102 million already implemented
  • 629 ideas currently being implemented
  • Customer portals that enable customers to evaluate and approve ideas for implementation

Winning ideas from MAD JAM 2012

In addition to company-wide recognition, the winners of MAD JAM 2012 get a unique opportunity to bring their opportunity to life. They have the opportunity to work with a special team set up to create a strategy that will take their idea to the market (winning team members will be made leaders for this initiative irrespective of seniority). They can also seek mentorship from a senior business unit leader if required.

All this not only provides the winners with a wider recognition within the company but also gives them a huge push in their respective careers.

MAD JAM 2012 Winning Idea: MyCloud from HCL Infrastructure Division

HCL MyCloud is a one stop solution that builds synergy between people, process and technology to deliver excellence in Hybrid Cloud Operations and Management. This intuitive Cloud Lifecycle Management Framework enables organizations to achieve improved service levels and reduce IT Costs, besides increasing visibility and control over the underlying hybrid cloud environment.

HCL MyCloud solution framework is designed and built with features that address multiple aspects of hybrid cloud management including assessment, orchestration, provisioning, security and chargeback.

Innovators’ MAD idea 2012: Optimization Technique from HCL Engineering and R&D Services Division

A solution that reduces memory and throughput utilization for embedded safety critical systems. At an aerospace client’s engagement there was a sudden client need-driven change, which necessitated an increase in the hardware support requirement (to support the application required). This risked project cost as well as timelines. A solution, developed by HCL Engineering Team, helped bring back the requisite memory and throughput utilization to within safe margins – thereby saving the program from cost and schedule overruns. The solution is generic and is applicable across industries that involve embedded systems.

The winning ideas mentioned above, have already generated revenue of USD 5 million for the company till date.

For further information please contact:

Rohan Kurian Varghese

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