Using IE to Affect Change in Your Sphere of Influence

It’s easy to apply IE principles to product-related solutions, but as our IE Blue Belts show, time and time again, you can use IE for anything. In an audit of recent online Blue Belt graduates, we found 55% used their application for improving or inventing a new process, 20% worked on a marketing initiative, and 25% applied their assignments to a growth opportunity (typically a new product). Here are three examples of how IE Blue Belts are using their skills to improve their sphere of influence.

Note: For these examples, industries and other details have been changed for privacy reasons.

A Closed Loop Recycling System to Demonstrate a Commitment to Sustainability

Often times we can focus so much on what we provide to others, we forget  about taking those same actions for ourselves. This was the case for this Blue Belt; their company provided sustainability services to others, but at their new innovation facility, they found they had significant food waste. Coming into the application, they had the start of an idea to used a closed loop system to recycle the waste into a sustainable chef garden for their facility. They were able to use the tools and the diversity of their co-workers to flush out the details of the garden and turn it into a meaningfully unique opportunity for their company. They then used their PDSA cycles to build a pitch to take to their VP for approval. This covered: doing the math, building a timeline for implementation, and refining the pitch with the help of a co-worker who works more closely with the VP. By the end of the application, they had refined their idea and had a pitch ready to take to their VP. The pitch covered how they could reinvent their facility to improve customer perception and make an impact on their mission of sustainability

A New Marketing Strategy for a Service that Helps Rescued Animals Adjust to Captivity

This Blue Belt had a fantastic situation for the application assignment. They were in a situation where the offering they provided was working well, but they knew they needed more reach due to how big, and widespread, the issue was. Their Blue Card was all about a new way to get reach through marketing with a very strict budget and a pretty fast time frame. They were able to get past clients involved in both the stimulus mining and the ideation phase to help add significant diversity. Through their PDSA cycles they started by running experiments with a past client they had a strong relationship with, leveraged the diversity of coworkers and family to refine messaging, and ended off with a survey to gather feedback from current clients. Overall, they were able to identify a new audience to offer their service to and how to reach that audience.

Filling a Pipeline for New Carpentry Products

This was a more “traditional” application as it focused on new products. However, the aim of the application was to work on building a pipeline of products they could provide to the marketing team, as needed, instead of constantly living in a reactionary state. They used their application to come up with one of these new products and their PDSA cycles involved building some of the steps of a repeatable process to use on new ideas. This process involved identifying suppliers, evaluating samples, and sending prototypes for regulation testing. While this application only looked at one specific product, it helped them build a repeatable system they could use to achieve the mission of filling their pipeline.

These are just a few of the many examples of how Blue Belts are using their skills to improve their sphere of influence. It’s exciting every time a Blue Belt gets to the application because every time it’s a unique challenge and you get to see them use their new skills to overcome obstacles.