Courtney Dobrow, Director of Communications at Morningstar Inc., earned an Award of Excellence in Digital Communication/Marketing in the 2013 IABC/Chicago Bronze Quill Awards. We asked her a few questions about her award-winning project, “Eureka, Morningstar’s Innovation Platform,” and the Digital Communication/Marketing field in general:
What was the biggest learning you took from your project?
We knew going in that the Eureka platform would enable employees to share and generate internal support for their ideas, and lead to collaboration across businesses and geographies. We also learned, very early in the process, that creating, launching, and implementing Eureka would require a collaborative approach. It started with encouraging the three employees around the world who were independently pursuing company-wide innovation programs to join forces. Once we obtained the support of senior Morningstar leaders, we formed a Eureka team composed of the original architects of the Eureka idea, internal communications, HR, and other interested employees that worked closely with our designer and developer to create the platform. The team has continued to meet biweekly to shepherd employee submissions, do necessary follow-up with stakeholders, and continue making improvements to the platform. Eureka wouldn’t have gotten off the ground and continued to operate successfully this team collaborating.
Before Eureka, we didn’t have a formal, public channel for employees to share ideas and provide feedback on colleagues’ ideas, and when we decided to develop the platform internally, we were starting from scratch with limited internal resources. The process of designing and developing a platform from the ground up was a new experience for most of us. We learned a lot about prioritizing, in particular the need to introduce must-have functionality in phase one and hold off on adding major new features until phase two, balancing available resources, timelines, and meeting employee needs.
How did this project reinforce anything you already knew?
We knew from feedback employees provided in various company surveys that they wanted a formal way to share their ideas.
How do you keep your digital communication/marketing fresh and relevant?
Responsiveness is the key to keeping Eureka fresh and relevant. It’s critical that the Eureka team provide feedback when an employee submits an idea, from acknowledging the submission to posting updates to ultimately sharing whether or not Morningstar will pursue the idea. If there’s a perception that Eureka is stale or not receiving attention from decision-makers, employees won’t interact with the platform. We also want to continually improve the employee experience with Eureka, through design and development.
How do you see digital communication/marketing evolving in the next few years and what excites you about the field?
The field is exploding with ideas and new technology. It’s such a powerful way to connect with each other and increase engagement.
IABC/Chicago would like to thank ROC Group for its sponsorship of the 2013 Bronze Quill Awards.