Collective intelligence: opening the doors to your innovation

Interview with Mario Ibeas: Head of the Ingenium innovation platform.

Motivating employees to share with them what innovation represents for a company like Sacyr is one of the company’s main missions. It is only if we break the spiral of silence that we will manage to make it possible for any idea to come to light and be assessed. Sacyr has therefore created the Ingenium innovation platform, which is designed to address strategic challenges in its business lines through collective intelligence.

What is collective intelligence?

It is a process whereby ideas are stimulated collectively with a view to meeting high-impact challenges. The process culminates with the introduction of solutions that generate greater business value.

Why does collective intelligence allow us to address our challenges?

It multiplies our ability to think, allowing us to gather numerous points of view and build on proposals made by colleagues. In addition, it facilitates the ability to think with an open mind, eliminating the barriers that limit the most disruptive proposals in standard processes.

Which groups can participate in addressing a challenge?

Any of the employees of the organisation can get involved, provided they are aware of the campaign’s objective and have a connection with one of the different processes or activities that the challenge posed is affecting. Usually, employees in different roles participate together, such as executives, on-site and service field personnel and support team staff, from one or several divisions. Other campaigns, due to their type, are aimed at specialised groups.

What challenges can we set?

The challenges must always be specific and focus on real problems affecting our positioning and results. What to ask, whom to ask and how best to do so must be clearly defined.

How can we address the “valley of death” between the idea and its implementation?

We only launch campaigns that have an impact on our businesses. The goal of a collective intelligence process is not to pose questions solely because it involves employees but rather to make certain that the necessary resources are available to be able, once the challenge has been set, to implement the answers that enable that challenge to be addressed in the most efficient way possible.

What is the main role that you at Innovation play in the process?

We manage the process and ensure there are the necessary resources and roles available to be able to set the challenge, and also set a timeframe. In addition, we are constantly providing information about the platform and coordinate the technical aspects of the campaigns in conjunction with the respective departments involved from the different businesses.

What is the relationship with the originators of the ideas implemented throughout the process?

We consider it is very important to keep them informed, through a transparent process and communication channels, about the decisions in line with the challenge and the assessment of the initiatives. In addition, the originators of the ideas that will potentially be implemented are, as far as possible, incorporated into the process of developing them.

What happens to the rest of the ideas, those which cannot be implemented?

These ideas are never lost; they stay inside the system in case the circumstances needed for their implementation arise later on or they can inspire other ideas based on them.