When I interview candidates, I often mention how Citrix invests in innovation. Almost every company out there says they invest in innovation during the interview process, but do they really? Often there is little to back up these claims after the candidate becomes an employee.
I’m glad to say that Citrix is different, as we take innovation seriously.
Two years ago, Jesse Lipson, who is our Corporate VP of Cloud Services, rolled out a new BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for his business unit. The BHAG is to have Citrix employees launch 20 new businesses that exceed $1M in revenue each, inside or outside of Citrix. That’s right, inside or outside Citrix. This is a hefty goal by any measure, and the wheels are already in motion.
Here are a few examples of what we do at Citrix to help achieve a BHAG like this.
First and foremost, is employee education. The foundation from which you can launch a successful business and product lies in The Lean Startup framework developed by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. At Citrix, we developed a Lean Startup curriculum that any employee can complete. This curriculum covers topics like Design Thinking, Customer Development, Business Modeling, and Pitching Ideas. Upon completion of this curriculum, employees have the essential tools to take any idea to market through deliberate experimentation and customer understanding.
Next, we have several innovation programs that run multiple times a year. One of these programs is a prestigious Innovators Program, in which, several internal teams work alongside startups to accelerate their idea to market over the period of three months. When teams join this program they leave their day job behind for three months and the most successful ideas get additional funding after the program ends.
There are other programs that happen year ’round, ranging from hackathons, to hack weeks and lean challenges. We encourage our innovators to team up across the business functions, forming 3H teams: Hacker (coder), Hipster (designer), and Hustler (customer focused). The teaming-up process is fun in its own right. We also host innovation mixers where people with ideas or various skills team up and apply to the innovation programs.
As it is in the real world of startups, few teams get funded upon completion of the program. The main value of the Lean Startup curriculum and the innovation programs is learning. Participants come back to their daily jobs and bring the skills learned to their functions, such as making decisions in a data-driven way, showing more customer empathy, applying the entrepreneurial mindset of experimentation, and driving innovation in products, processes and business models.
Whether you take the learnings to launch a new product at Citrix, launch a new business, or to reinvent your daily job – it’s up to you. Join us and the choice is yours!