August 08, 2007
It's Innovation Time at the OK Corel

In an effort to jump start innovation, Corel (the maker of Word Perfect software,) recreates startup environments in-house. When an employee has a bright idea, he/she can apply for a two-week pass along with one or two other people in a virtual garage situation to develop the idea. At the end of the two weeks, if the idea continues to look promising, the employee can apply for another two week pass and so on, as long as the idea keeps looking like a winner.

I like this idea a lot. It keeps innovation in-the-moment. After all, most innovation is driven by passion, fascination, and intrinsic motivation -- not bureaucratic processes. If you (or your company) don't have a way for winning ideas to take root and grow, you can throw "innovation" out the window along with all those other brainstorms of yours that never made it beyond cocktail party chatter.

You may have the best strategic plan this side of Pluto, but unless you have a simple way to honor the sudden appearance of breakthrough thinking, who cares?

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "It's not enough to be busy. Ants are busy. What are we busy about?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at August 8, 2007 04:15 PM


I like the Corel approach. I think a less formal model is when leaders or project sponsors (senior folks in an organization) have the savvey (or learn it) to take time to listen to good ideas - over lunch or coffee or during a walk in the park. If there is merit to pursue it further - encourage the colleague and set up the next walk.

Ideas come in the shower too, but that's not the right place for most meetings.

Posted by: Gary Ockenden at August 10, 2007 10:55 AM

Kudos to Corel for such a great idea. I hope every innovative company will follow this model.

Kishore Dharmarajan
Author of Eightstorm: 8-Step Brainstorming for Innovative Managers

Posted by: Kishore Dharmarajan at August 23, 2007 10:02 AM

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