Using inclusion to ignite innovation

Blog

Inclusion and diversity are key to our values and the culture we’re building at Xplor. We want every Xplorer to feel included, valued and empowered to make an impact – because we believe that inclusion ignites innovation.

Limiting who can contribute and share ideas in any company limits how many problems can be solved, but a diverse and inclusive team means there’s space for new and fresh perspectives. We believe the best ideas emerge when very different perspectives meet.

Enter LAUNCHPAD. It’s our first innovation learning experience for all Xplorers and part of our Inclusion Ignites Innovation strategy. The aim? To help Xplorers to reach their full potential through growth and development opportunities, share and collaborate on ideas and have the chance to build stronger relationships across the company.

A team of colleagues
We believe inclusion ignites innovation.

“It was so inspiring to see Xplorers from different teams take part, many of whom who had not participated in an event like this before. I loved that we could give people a new experience, build their knowledge and confidence and share their innovative ideas with the whole company,” said Andrea Brewster, Sustainability & Social Impact Manager at Xplor, who was part of the LAUNCHPAD project team.

Because we believe inclusion ignites innovation, our goal was to have as many Xplorers participate as possible. We encouraged Xplorers to submit ideas and self-organise in teams for three categories: Operations & Growth, People & Experience, and Product & Tech. And we were blown away by the response – 550 Xplorers submitted, voted, and commented on over 60 ideas! And then, over 48 hours, 100 Xplorers in 25 diverse project teams from around the world worked together to build out their innovation ideas and create a video pitch, which was then presented to a panel of executive judges.

“Joining LAUNCHPAD opened me to the whole new idea of how we can help innovate and better serve our customers and community,” said Art Palijo, Creative Marketing Specialist at Xplor.

After the first round of judging, the top 10 ideas went through to a final judging round which was broadcast live for everyone in the company to watch and comment on. Our judges: Executive Chair Pam Joseph; CEO Education Mark Woodland; CEO Home Services Connie Certusi; and Service Autopilot founder Johnathan Potoschnik – gave feedback on all the pitches and then announced the category winners. The livestream was viewed over 1000 times, and hundreds of Xplorers then voted for their favorite idea to take home the Xplorers’ Choice award. This team, as well as the three category winners, received a cash prize, thanks to our sponsors.

“Being on a LAUNCHPAD team was an incredible experience with a diverse group of people! It also highlighted that collaboration across verticals & the globe is not only possible, but also a strength!” Am Grewal, Knowledge Team Lead, PerfectMind, Fitness & Wellbeing, Xplor

During LAUNCHPAD Xplorers were also invited to hear from innovation experts at Amazon Web Services, Endava and Microsoft to hear how these technology leaders approach innovation. Our expert partners also provided mentoring and learning workshops, to help our Xplorers challenge their thinking, formulate their ideas, and learn new technical skills – all things they could use for LAUNCHPAD – and in their future careers.

“Not only was it awesome to see teams of Xplorers collaborating across geographic boundaries – it was also good to see the creative thinking that came by bringing everyone together with a common goal.” - Connie Certusi, CEO Home Services, Xplor.

At the end of LAUNCHPAD, the judges were impressed with the quality of pitches, and the way our teams came together to bring these ideas to life in just 48 hours. So, what happens next? Leaders within Xplor will be working with LAUNCHPAD teams to map out their ideas into actionable plans and create minimum viable products. The top LAUNCHPAD ideas may become new processes or products for Xplor, and we’re working with those teams to take their ideas to the next stage.

LAUNCHPAD is just the start of our journey in building a culture of innovation at Xplor – and we can't wait to do it again soon. A big thank you to our sponsors, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce and Endava for helping to power inclusion and innovation with us!

Xplorer comments:

“The best part of LAUNCHPAD was the willingness of the company to allow time dedicated to ideas to improve the business. It's great to see they value our ideas so much.”

“It has really helped draw other verticals close together, and by allowing everyone the chance and exposure to make their ideas/ voices heard by the senior leadership.”

“I loved getting to know Xplorers that I wouldn't have otherwise, from all over the world. Like our teammates from New Zealand and Canada – it was a joy getting to interact and work with them”

“I loved seeing all the creative ideas and learning a little about some things I had little or no experience with. I watched 2 of the 3 workshop recordings and found them fascinating. I particularly liked the one with Rob Findlay (Head of Digital Innovation ANZ, AWS). I enjoyed being part of a team working on our pitch, it was a fun and engaging couple of weeks getting to meet and chat to a few other Xplorers.”