9 July 2012
One of the biggest aspects of the year-long Drive for Innovation has been the logistics; connecting and organizing meetings at hundreds of companies, usually located in places we had not visited previously.
Here are some of the best (and innovative) receptions we encountered:
1. Analog Devices: ADI communications folks pulled out all the stops for our visit to Wilmington, Mass. They organized a huge outdoor reception with food, coffee, and tented demonstrations. They called a local Chevy dealer, who brought over a second Volt and a representative to answer questions. They organized a "suggestion" campaign in which employees wrote ideas about how to improve EV design on sticky paper. Hundreds of employees came out, and a member of the automotive electronics team posed with the car.
2. Texas Instruments: TI had a local dealer bring a Volt into its Dallas headquarters and had a dealer representative answer questions. The TI communications not only broadcast internally the opportunity for employees to check out the Volt, they tweeted about the visit.
3. Harting: Rhonda Stratton of Harting (now of Littelfuse) told me to drive around back when I arrived at Harting's headquarters in Illinois. There, employees set up a "pit stop" to charge and check out the Volt with their own pit crew.
4. IDT: Sue Kim at IDT really, really wanted the Volt to be in the company's San Jose lobby as part of our stop there. The challenge was how to get it from the back of the building through a long lobby and a treacherous bend. We got in a jam.
5. National Instruments: I really enjoy roundtable discussions about technology, and on the road we organized a number of them. Usually, these discussions involved a handful of a company's employees in a small conference room. We would videotape and publish the discussion. At National Instruments, they took it to the next level: They held the roundtable in a theater and invited employees to watch and participate.