How We Keep TheEngine+ Competition Fresh and Innovative

How We Keep TheEngine+ Competition Fresh and Innovative

Since 2020, TheEngine+ competition has offered ambitious entrepreneurs within the IPG ecosystem the chance to impact the future of our business. By developing product ideas and business solutions across a variety of areas through this entrepreneurship competition, TheEngine+ aims to foster innovation and creativity, enabling talent from all levels to make a difference. At the root of TheEngine+, we strive to create and foster a culture of innovation—and that same innovative spirit has led to the TheEngine+ evolving over time as well.

I started out as a developer and designer myself, and after several years in my career, eventually worked my way into project management, and I knew quickly that was the right move for me. I ended up staying in project management for over 10 years because I loved the ability to work cross functionally with different teams. With ever-changing needs and multiple hats to wear, you needed to know a little bit about what everyone was doing. From there, I moved to a director position, then VP, and eventually my current position, as SVP of Product Innovation at Kinesso. I love the planning aspects to my role, getting to work with diverse groups of people, and getting to touch on all areas of the business. It’s a unique opportunity to get everyone together across the company while also having fun and building something. That’s what TheEngine+ offers and what it means to me—the opportunity to create something new, together.

As TheEngine+ enters its third year, it’s safe to say we learn new things every time. While innovation itself never changes, every year we discover new ways to activate it and harness that strength. The first year, TheEngine+ offered a massive learning curve for everyone involved but was also a huge success because of the volume of interest. It provided proof that our concept had lasting power. By our second year, TheEngine+ was both better funded, and yielded even greater organizational support, and by 2022, we saw a huge rise in engagement and awareness. In fact, we observed a 200%+ increase in people voting for the submissions when compared to year two!

With a competition like TheEngine+, we know we need to continue to build and improve every year in order to see real growth. This year, we held “office hour” sessions, where Graham Wilkinson, Chief Innovation Officer of Kinesso, and Christine Ayuso, Director Project Management at Kinesso, answered questions from the community around TheEngine+. These office hours received prominent internal support, resulting in a 50%+ attendance increase over years prior. Another step we took in improving TheEngine+ program was introducing a “challenge entry”, where a community member has the option to introduce a problem that anyone is able to view and potentially build out a solution for it, leading to additional submission opportunities. Even for the applicants that are not selected as the winner, we still want to focus on supporting those great ideas. We’ve received a lot of high-quality entries, and we want to focus on fleshing those out more to really blossom into something special.

TheEngine+ initiative enables employees from all seniority levels to participate in something truly special—the opportunity to make a difference. Excited to see what TheEngine+ 2022 and 2021 winning teams have in store for us? Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon, and in the meantime, learn more about TheEngine+ competition here.