In September this year, we were lucky enough to work with Japanese tech giant, Fujitsu on the ‘Distinguished Engineers Conference’, an annual occasion that celebrates the top 220 engineers from within the business by awarding them FDE status.
Created back in 1988, the FDE initiative was designed to recognise and reward technical excellence from across the business. Only those who demonstrate a high level of achievement across all areas of their work are awarded this accolade. Meaning that if you are an FDE you are the best of the best.
Which got us thinking…
Why would you have your best engineers under one roof and not put them to work solving real customer challenges?
Taking co-creation to the next level, we split the FDE’s down into smaller groups and paired each of them with a real Fujitsu customer. Heathrow, Inmarsat, and CFL provided groups with current challenges they are facing, and taking the FDE’s out of their comfort zone, asked them to use Activ8 (an 8-step process from within Fujitsu) to create the best possible solutions in workshop style activations.
6-hours later and the teams returned ready to pitch their ideas live to their customers in a head-to-head battle that saw 21 ideas whittled down to the top 3, but this was no easy decision. The FDE’s all created ideas bursting with potential and innovation that blew customers away, making the simple task of choosing the winners extremely difficult. The representatives from Heathrow and CFL went on to say the following about the experience:
“I was thrilled that we were going to take part in the FDE conference, with a really interesting challenge to pose to the FDE community. I have worked with several FDEs previously in my role here at Heathrow, and I know first-hand how amazing their creativity can be when thinking about solutions to problems. The output of the day, and the energy involved was a pleasure to see, and from a personal perspective very inspiring as well. Judging the final efforts of the teams through their excellent model making skills proved extremely difficult, but with the help of the Fellows I think we chose the right winner on the day.” - Heathrow
"Participating at this event and meeting all those distinguished engineers was already a pleasure for me, but having the opportunity to challenge them with a real-world problem from our side was a unique experience - the generated ideas by applying the Activ8 methodology are all usable and who knows some will find their way to production." - CFL
Of course, we always knew that this would be the case. The distinguished engineers are the best in the business therefore, we were confident that by providing them with the opportunity to co-create with real customers, magic would happen.
Through a simple workshop activation that lasted just 6-hours, Fujitsu, Heathrow, Inmarsat, and CFL now all have solutions and ideas so powerful they have the potential to fuel their on-going success way into the future.
· 99% found the conference innovative and engaging
· 90% are interested in doing a customer challenge again
· 87% excellent rating for overall conference experience