How to foster innovation by empowering your employees

At DXC we continually encourage our people to “innovate,” but how does one define innovation and what does it really mean? Personally, I think it is an overused term and one that often lacks agreement of definition. Is it any different from  “research and development,” which has traditionally been the vaguely defined term for innovative activities?  In my experience, if you ask 10 different people to define innovation, you get will likely get 10 different answers.

I have a very simple definition of innovation, and that is: the introduction of ideas that can add business value to an organisation or its customers. Our ability to add value is only restricted if we don’t listen to our customers’ needs and understand their challenges — and if we don’t enable a culture that supports new ideas and initiatives.

The challenge in execution is how to create a culture that stimulates and rewards ideas, how to make this culture form part of the company DNA, and how to build a structure that sustains learning and ideation, ultimately resulting in continuous improvement. To commit to this goal, there needs to be an investment in time, people and the ability to prototype ideas quickly. Employees need to be empowered to learn and not fear repercussions from failure.

In terms of how this relates to brand differentiation and how we take new ideas and capabilities to our customers, I want to share a use case where our people came up with an “innovative” idea that digitally transformed our own internal systems. The effort not only improved efficiency and employee engagement, but also allowed our development team to become familiar enough with the technology (aka research and development) that we could then, in turn, use it to help customers, further enhancing the idea’s business value.

The product in this case was Capriza, which enables you to transform workflows for legacy applications without any complex integration and to provide a modern, mobile-enabled UI for Android, iOS and other mobile platforms. After demonstrating the product, the team brainstormed how it could be used to improve existing workflows within DXC.  The team chose to tackle the timesheet submission process because the existing application interface wasn’t user friendly and didn’t have a mobile interface for entry and approval on mobile devices.. The end goal of the initiative was to provide better support for a mobile and active workforce within Australia and New Zealand. The expected outcomes included:

  • Superior user experience
  • Digital alignment
  • Improved employee engagement and compliance for timely timesheet submission
  • Timely approval of timesheets
  • Higher revenue due to timely customer invoicing
  • Fewer cycle delays in customer billing

The team – already accustomed to working together on innovation initiatives — was able to carry out due diligence and build a working prototype with full functionality within three weeks. After receiving the green light from the product owner, they were able to deliver eight different use cases and successfully pilot the solution, all within three months. This is a great example of being able to rapidly prototype and prove an idea, while also building expertise that can then be translated to other initiatives.

John Godfrey is Chief Technologist for DXC New Zealand. He has over 30 years of technical and industry experience, globally, across a number of different sectors, including: finance, manufacturing, government and telecommunications. John is passionate about continuous learning and improvement and always looking for ways to challenge the status quo to improve the customer experience.

Sara Hagopian is a Solution Architect for DXC New Zealand, specializing in SAP.  She has broad experience in developing and implementing IT strategies that align with business outcomes. She has worked on all facets of system implementations, from planning through to post go-live support with a particular emphasis on business requirements enhancement and overall process integration.

Naga Sharma is a successful senior executive, with proven skills across business strategy and consulting, large programme delivery, Innovation, operations management and business development.  He has lead cross-functional teams of high-risk, complex programs, directly impacting the company’s strategy to meet technology and business requirements on time and within budget across different domains in US, UK, Europe, APMEA Region.


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