Organic innovation – the process of inventing breakthrough technologies in-house – plays a key role in keeping technology companies competitive and healthy. That’s why it’s critical to foster innovation within the company culture, and why it’s a priority here at Citrix.

In my last Fueling Innovation at Citrix  post, I explained how we use Tech Fairs to give our brightest product teams a chance to show off their concepts to senior executives and their peers, and maybe take that key next step toward bringing it to market as a product or service. But while Tech Fairs are important, they are just one of the ways we foster organic innovation here at Citrix.

To spark the fire that drives the innovation process, we plan and host Citrix Hackathons, and we provide Innovation Hubs as places where our best and brightest engineers and product managers can hang out and create. Then, as the creative process continues, we provide added support through additional processes that include Lean Innovation and our Innovator’s Challenge, in addition to our Tech Fairs.

A lot of great innovation begins with our Citrix Hackathons. We schedule these popular events in advance, so we can bring those smart engineers together where they can brainstorm, collaborate and develop ideas. It’s a fun way to gather our teams in one place, challenge them and turn them loose. There is a creative energy that infuses these anticipated events that can ignite new ideas that can be advanced into product and service concepts that can be explored further.

Another way to spark ideas is to literally create a space where our bright, creative people can hang out and play with amazing technology. We call these spaces Innovation Hubs, where you can find tables, workbenches, a 3-D printer, big-screen monitors, and places to relax. We know from experience that when you provide a place for creative people to hang out, amazing ideas and creations can follow. Our Innovation Tech Hubs provide that space to create, test and refine ideas, and even create product concept models.

As my last blog post explained, when our teams have developed new product or service ideas, our Citrix Tech Fairs give our product teams at each major campus a chance to show off their work, solicit input and support from senior executives, and even gain recognition from their peers.

For those ideas and concepts that offer significant promise, the Citrix Lean Innovation program offers opportunities for engineers and product teams to present a more developed pitch for our senior executives to make a stronger case to pursue their idea as a product or service. If they are successful with their pitch, their reward is to devote 10 percent of their time to work on their project to develop it into a product or service that Citrix can bring to the market.

For the most promising concepts that merit even more focus, the Citrix Innovator’s Challenge rewards that product team with one quarter to exclusively focus on developing their project into a product or a service, the ultimate reward for organic innovation.

Innovation has been a core part of our Citrix DNA from the beginning, and our ability to successfully foster that spirit of invention has played a key role in our continued success. If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that organic innovation is a journey that can take many routes. That’s why Citrix continues to find new ways to encourage creativity, motivate our smartest people and stretch our boundaries to fuel organic innovation through a variety of approaches.

What motivates you to create and invent? Share your thoughts on innovation in the comments.