In these years, several conditions are changing for automakers around the globe. With the rapid advance of new technologies, existing companies, and upcoming start-ups are battling to stay ahead of the game, discover new ideas and remain relevant.

More than a 100 years after installing the breakthrough assembly line for their Model T, Ford is still very much on the frontlines of innovation and idea management.

With a strict focus on refueling their inventive culture, Ford has launched and implemented a number of internal activities to support their innovation. One of these initiatives is challenging all their employees with specific company issues, asking for everyone to chip in with new ideas and contribute with their respective knowledge.

The Results? Absolutely Stunning.

According to an article in Washington Post “More than 5,500 Ford employees put forth ideas so far this year, including about 2,200 first-time inventors, according to the company. More than 4,000 first-time inventors have submitted ideas since January 2015.”

In short; Ford has managed to gather a huge number of new ideas and idea feedback from every corner of their organization. But perhaps even more remarkably, they also managed to tap in on the knowledge and social capital of a very significant number of employees who in this respect are first-time contributors. They have turned their teams into a set of inventors.

With this kind of employee engagement, the benefits of the idea management process go beyond the actual business results derived from new ideas. The spillover effects have positive impacts on other essential KPI’s, thus strengthening ROI for idea management.

But KPI improvements from idea management is not surprising. What we find truly awesome is that such a significant and diverse company like Ford, are able to activate so many of their stakeholders with such high levels of engagement. Bravo!