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It’s like a kale salad or those high heeled sneakers or #throwbackthursday. The word “innovation” is all the rage.

I’ve been working in employment marketing for a few years and have done my fair share of competitor analyses. I’ve seen this buzzword splattered throughout company websites and recruitment collateral, promising potential employees they will be working for an organization that will cultivate their creativity and help them change the world. Blah, blah, blah.

But what does being innovative even mean? And what qualifies your company to make such a claim? Being a cool shiny new start-up? Being the first? Can organizations that have been around for decades be innovative?

Let’s think about Apple – a brand synonymous with innovation. Is it because they created a “floating” Mac screen or that they nurture the spark of great ideas? I think it’s a combination of both.

The products you create are a direct result of how you operate. Steve Jobs created an environment that gave his people the freedom to question the norm, to not settle for a simple solution, to create the future they wanted to see. Having these ideals at the heart of your business is bound to foster innovation.

Now, what do you think of when you hear the name Ericsson? I think of broadband and 3G, which then reminds me I haven’t paid my cell phone bill this month. I don’t immediately think of imagination and innovation. But I am wrong.

Ericsson is a Swedish telecommunications company. More than 40% of the world’s mobile traffic travels through Ericsson’s networks. But what makes them innovative is not just the products they create, it’s how they have built innovation into the core of their company.

Ideaboxes is Ericsson’s own internal sharing platform where employees can post their ideas, no matter how large or small. They will receive feedback from their colleagues all over the world and have the support to transform their rough ideas into polished plans of action. This platform gives them a voice, and the opportunity to turn thoughts into reality. Ericsson encourages every single one of their 100,000 employees to think “inside the box.”

Today, there are over 30,000 ideas swirling through Ericsson’s IdeaBoxes, being tumbled and shaped and refined into solutions that will make connections faster and phone bills cheaper.

Ericsson is one of these companies claiming “innovation,” but platforms like IdeaBoxes give them the right to. I wish other organizations would start putting their money where their mouth is. Click here to learn more about IdeaBoxes.

Is your company truly innovative? Tell us about it. We want to know.

By Jacqueline Monti, Account Executive and Social Media strategist at work Group.

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