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A call center isn’t always perceived as a hotbed of innovation. Working at the call center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Laura Sullivan and Derek Childs often came across problems faced by customers before everyone else in the company. When AT&T launched TIP (The Innovation Pipeline), it changed the way AT&T employees such as Laura and Derek engaged in the innovation process, giving frontline employees a tool to shape solutions that benefit customers. TIP was a game changer, driving over 55,000 new ideas in the last decade.

With TIP, creative thinkers such as Derek and Laura could share ideas with peers and their leadership, but those same thinkers didn’t always know how to approach their pitch. Our solution? Create a program to train a small group of employees to systematically develop ideas, known as the AT&T Innovation Network in 2018.

The AT&T Innovation Network gave Laura and Derek a roadmap to systematic innovation, sharing their ideas with fellow innovators and helping them learn about cutting edge work across the company.

If you build it, they will come

The AT&T Innovation Network has grown to over 2,300 members, attracting inventors, improv artists, design thinkers and ‘Maker’ enthusiasts. Our members are eager to learn about innovation and solving problems. We focus our efforts through three, key pillars:

  • Platform – Provide a platform for employees to innovate by forming small collaborative teams focused on innovation. Local Innovation Network Ambassadors serve as local leads to organize events and help form teams.
  • Tools & Training – With easy access to internal resources, leader led training sessions and monthly brainstorming events, subject matter experts can guide members getting their ideas validated and implemented.
  • Inspiration – Inspire employees to think outside the box through “Lunch and Learn” sessions on various topics of interest, from Blockchains to AI.

By focusing on inclusion, we are making it easier for employees of all stripes to share and develop better solutions. We want employees to dedicate more time on refining ideas and less time on navigating the innovation process.

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