GAM Investments is an independent global asset management firm with over 35 years’ experience and expertise in financial services. The firm manages CHF 103 billion* in assets for institutions, financial advisers and private investors. With around 747 employees in 15 countries, GAM is a truly global firm in scale and resources. *As of 30 September 2021.
Diversity, equality and inclusion are key drivers of GAM’s approach to social responsibility. For GAM, it’s imperative to treat every employee equally regardless of their gender, race or seniority. GAM has participated in the annual “InvestmentYYYY” scheme since 2017, which opens doors to a wide range of graduates and school leavers whose aspirations might not otherwise have included a career in investment management. In addition to this, GAM signed the Women in Finance Charter in 2018. For GAM, the goal of the Charter is to increase the number of women in senior management positions within GAM globally to 25% by 2022.
There’s no doubt that GAM’s most important asset is their people and, by valuing diversity and inclusion, they clearly have a strong foundation for innovation to thrive in their organisation. Their employees have always been pro-active and creative but, until now, the company lacked a social network for sharing ideas and didn’t have the processes and technology in place to unlock their employees’ full potential.
Ideas weren’t being captured centrally and innovation was occurring on an ad-hoc basis. Moreover, there was no system in place for showing employees what management was doing with the ideas they were presented with and no structure in place to see ideas through from conception to implementation. As a company that values innovation and complete transparency with its employees, this lack of clarity was an issue.
As a truly innovative organisation, GAM realised that to create a successful innovation model, they needed a clear idea management process and the technology to facilitate that process at scale. They also wanted idea management software that could:
- Unify their employees across the globe
- Enable real-time collaboration
- Act as a centralised place for ideas to be captured and followed through to implementation with full transparency
GAM chose to partner with Idea Drop as the only vendor in the market that could fulfil all of their requirements. Their culture of innovation has never been more important than in today’s remote working environment. Given the COVID-19 crisis, which began shortly after our partnership commenced, GAM decided to launch and roll out the platform more quickly than planned in order to give their global team, who were by that stage all working remotely, a tool to share their thoughts and ideas with the wider business.
With the help of Idea Drop, GAM was able to quickly and effectively capture their employees’ ideas, put those ideas in front of the right people and put their culture of innovation into action.
In the first two weeks, almost 50% of GAM’s employees signed up to the platform, and more than 40% submitted an idea, 28 of which were promptly actioned. Since then, GAM has continued to see considerable levels of employee engagement in their innovation programme. To date, GAM has collected 376 ideas from its employees and there have been almost 4,000 interactions on those ideas, with employees offering “comments” and “ratings” and “favouriting” colleagues’ ideas.
To date, GAM has actioned 18% of employee ideas submitted on Idea Drop. Many of these implemented ideas helped GAM break down geographical silos and resulted in the creation of valuable tools that are now accessible to all global teams.
Multinational companies often struggle to effectively share ideas between their various territories. The following example of one of GAM’s actioned ideas demonstrates how Idea Drop mitigates this challenge.
A GAM employee in the UK recognised that there were significant internal skill and knowledge gaps when it came to using Microsoft Office, particularly Excel. The employee used Idea Drop to suggest an internal help desk to support and upskill their colleagues. Another UK employee commented on the idea, informing the original idea’s author that this idea had already been successfully implemented in GAM’s Dublin office. The results of Dublin’s help desk scheme were used to validate the idea’s implementation in other territories. Three days after the original idea from the UK office was posted, GAM had gathered enough volunteers through Idea Drop to launch a global Microsoft Office help desk. This help desk effectively transcends geographical boundaries, enabling GAM employees around the world to support their colleagues and share their knowledge and skills about Microsoft Office.
GAM has also crowdsourced and implemented ideas addressing employee health, wellbeing and professional development. Interested to learn more about these actioned ideas and the results they are seeing? Watch the video below:
Here's why Idea Drop’s launch was so successful for GAM
After overseeing hundreds of global enterprise innovation programmes, we’ve developed an implementation plan that consistently delivers results, impact and value. From the outset, Idea Drop’s customer success team of innovation experts collaborated with GAM to work through our proven and thorough implementation process. This involved:
1. Well-defined innovation goals based on GAM’s business objectives
Every strategic innovation programme starts with setting powerful and attainable goals. (Learn more about setting your innovation goals here.) We worked with GAM to extract and understand the key commercial drivers of the Idea Drop launch, as well as to understand their strategic and operational goals, to ensure that we aligned our technology solution with achieving these goals.
Working together, we devised the critical success factors (CSFs) for the launch, in order to measure its success. These CSFs typically include factors such as user engagement metrics, collaboration stats, ideation metrics (the number of ideas submitted, number of ideas moved to a particular phase or status) and user survey results.
2. Bespoke use of groups and categories
We worked with GAM to identify the volume and structure of their user groups, to ensure that the platform was aligned with their CSFs and key strategic goals. In GAM’s case, given that transparency was a key driver for launching Idea Drop, they chose to have one group of users so that every idea can be shared with every user. Other organisations might choose different groups of users, depending on the objectives of their innovation programme; these groups might include a cross-section of employees from different teams, locations or divisions or even just a specific team.
3. Strong “innovation workflow”
We worked with GAM to put in place an effective “innovation workflow” to manage the steps between an idea’s conception and implementation. Every organisation has a unique workflow that reflects its structure and its innovation goals. We helped to define and then replicate GAM’s workflow on our platform to enable the technology to facilitate the streamlined progression of ideas and ensure that participants can see how far every idea has progressed.
4. “Innovation ambassadors” to keep things moving
Having a unique and clear innovation workflow is vital to GAM given the importance they place on governance and transparency. Making sure that ideas progress quickly and sustainably through the innovation process was also a priority. To ensure that there wouldn’t be any bottlenecks, GAM created an army of innovation volunteers (GAMbassadors) who are responsible for regularly reviewing ideas and making sure that ideas keep moving through the process across the company.
Find out more about the key Idea Drop features that GAM uses to track ideas, ensuring that every idea, good or bad, is acknowledged and acted on:
5. Collaboration in devising goal-oriented challenges
Based on their innovation goals, we co-authored with GAM to develop the first three challenges that they posted as part of Idea Drop’s initial launch, and worked on a further seven challenges in the weeks that followed. We ensured that these challenges were fully aligned with GAM’s business values and objectives, and that they met the best practices for devising a successful innovation challenge.
By appearing in the videos that launched each challenge, GAM’s CEO highlighted the importance of participating in the company’s innovation efforts and undoubtedly helped to encourage employees to interact and engage; innovation challenges that include videos typically enjoy 58% higher engagement than those that don’t, and this number is even higher if the CEO takes part.
6. Strong internal communications pre and post launch
When clients partner with Idea Drop, they gain access to our vast pool of knowledge, and the most advanced methodologies, tools and resources necessary to execute their internal comms campaigns efficiently and effectively.
Our team of experts created an internal comms guide for GAM based on the best practices and successes we’ve seen over the years working with hundreds of organisations, large and small, across different industries. The comms strategy outlines how to drive and sustain effective engagement at all stages of the Idea Drop lifecycle.
In addition, as part of the Idea Drop launch, GAM produced a comprehensive internal comms toolkit as the blueprint for the internal marketing campaign that announced the launch of the platform. The toolkit included a number of pre-formatted emails, posters, visuals and standard memos.
As part of GAM’s ongoing engagement, they celebrate their top innovators. Learn more about this and their other communication techniques in the video below:
Latest news on how GAM has leveraged Idea Drop during the COVID-19 pandemic
Ignites Europe in January 2021 released an article on how firms like GAM keep ideas flowing during lockdown. Below we have the key highlights on how GAM has accelerated their innovation programme using Idea Drop during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and change.
Read the full article here.
Steve Rafferty, chief operating officer at Gam, says one positive outcome from the pandemic has been the sourcing of ideas from staff across the firm, with the use of a new idea management software.
The move to remote working last year accelerated the adoption of a tool that was rolled out last April.
One benefit of the tool, which was developed by Idea Drop, is that you can “cloak” your idea and then if it becomes a successful idea you can “uncloak” it.
“People get credit for an idea but they can also protect themselves,” says Mr Rafferty. “That is important to me because some people are more introverted and want their idea out there but they don’t want to stand on stage and communicate it.”
Many of the successful ideas contributed by Gam staff have been uncloaked at a later stage once the idea has gained traction, and the person who came up with the original idea then gets involved in developing it further in 80 per cent of cases.
The firm gets five or six ideas submitted every week, which are commented on and voted on by staff. Then every two weeks the most popular ideas get sent to a group of “Gambassadors”, drawn from different business functions, who then feed them through to the normal business committees to explore further.
Of Gam’s 700 staff, 500 have signed up or engaged with the tool.
It is a transparent process and people can track engagement and feedback on their ideas using the tool, says Mr Rafferty.
Mr Rafferty says the tool has built on the increased “connectivity” across the organisation that developed in the initial lockdown when people started reaching out to talk to “the right person”, depending on the particular issue, not just “the closest person”.
More about Idea Drop
Idea Drop is the innovation platform that’s helping GAM and other clients to capture, evaluate and action the best ideas from across their organisations in an engaging and easily accessible way, regardless of employees’ seniority or location.
Would you like to see Idea Drop in action and learn more about how our ideas platform can help drive impactful innovation in your organisation? Please contact us to request a demo, and our team of enterprise innovation experts will be in touch immediately to set up a one-to-one discovery session.
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