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Unilever wants employees to be more innovative – here’s how they encouraged it

Unilever wants employees to be more innovative – here’s how they encouraged it


According to Supply Chain Quarterly, Unilever has set up a micro-funding effort to encourage employees to be more innovative.

With many traditional supply chain organisations facing pressures to evolve into a digital supply chain, more innovative solutions and technologies are being explored. However, it is not as easy to translate the desire for innovation into a business plan that implements innovation.

To alleviate this conundrum, Unilever has proposed a “Digifund” micro-funding program to encourage their employees to be more innovative. This program involved challenging their employees to submit supply chain innovation requests that could be done within €10,000 (S$15,700) or less.

Employees had to submit a four-minute video that answered three questions. Their proposals would then be approved or denied within 48 hours.

According to the same publication, 70% of those ideas were implemented and went live in under eight months. Many of these projects were new and experimental and had helped the company to learn about new technologies.

According to the article, one of the projects had focused on using machine learning and advanced analytics to use data from one customer in one country to improve product availability on the shelf.

They looked at 2,000 stock keeping units across 500 stores and the effort helped improve the availability of the product for consumers. This process also saved time and money as the data analysis process was gradually automated.