General Mills rocks Idea Weekend 2

by Mike Bollinger


General Mills Idea Weekend
General Mills recreated their second “Idea Weekend” earlier this month, building off the momentum of their inaugural event last year.

The event is modeled very closely off of the Startup Weekend concept in the Twin Cities and elsewhere around the world, but with the twist to focus on intrapreneurship from General Mills staff. The goal of the event is to engage internal employees’ creativity and technology expertise to identify new opportunities for General Mills’ business.

The top two ideas coming out of the first Idea Weekend were presented to business leadership and are now funded projects moving forward within General Mills. This time around, the six finalist ideas were so well received by the judges that they immediately stepped up to say they would champion them and help them move forward.

One of the keys to success for Idea Weekend is that it brings together employees from across many different business functions to work together on ideas that would otherwise be more difficult to coordinate across different departments and existing initiatives. According to organizers, in some cases this event is the first time many individuals have worked together, and their combined breadth of knowledge allows them to make amazing progress in the short window of time from initial pitch to final presentation.

“The response to the first General Mills Idea Weekend was outstanding and our second event took it to a whole new level,” said Tim Huebsch, Global Business Solutions Engagement Manager and Co-Leader of General Mills Idea Weekend. “The amount the teams are able to accomplish in a very short period of time surprises everyone and the benefits go far beyond the weekend—new connections are created across functions, an innovative culture is ignited and the passion demonstrated by the engaged participants is truly remarkable.”

Are there other Fortune 500 companies in Minnesota pursuing internal innovation along the same lines? If so – who? If not – why?