One fall day in 2017, it was time for my 1-on-1 discussion with my manager, Christine. I work as a solutions architect and my team researches emerging technologies and ways to experiment with these technologies. So it made sense when, during our 1-on-1, Christine asked me “How do we get more innovative?” I thought about it for a few seconds and said “we ask the crew.” My manager’s eyes lit up, and she said “let’s do it!” What sounded like a simple answer spun into a new web of ideas on how we could get the crew equally excited about this new opportunity.
After shopping around our idea and gaining support from leaders to move forward, Discovery Challenge was born. Discovery Challenge was basically an ideation event for crew to submit ideas that would solve a business problem using a new or existing technology. Amber, a participant in this event, described it as “Vanguard’s version of the TV show, Shark Tank. It was an opportunity to take an innovative idea and plead its case for viability.” Over a 3 week period, 196 people participated and submitted a total of 121 creative ideas! The 4th week consisted of crew getting 5 votes to use on the ideas they liked. An astounding 5,255 votes were cast! After 2 rounds of narrowing down ideas, 5 ideas were selected to present in front of a panel of senior business and IT leaders at what we called Discovery Challenge Day.