On how Salesforce drives innovation

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford - Polly Sumner on how Salesforce employees get inspired to innovate

Technology trends and news by Chris Caceres
July 29, 2009
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Innovation writers block?  Try these methods practiced by Salesforce to get the ideas rolling.

Since its founding in 1999, Salesforce has grown into a platform in which developers can build and customize their own cloud based applications.  The company has about 55,400 customers and over 1,500,000 subscribers. So how does Salesforce continue to innovate and come up with new products and ideas for the rest of the world to utilize?  

"Innovation just doesn't happen in companies because of a new product idea, it happens because of something that's disruptive," explained Polly Sumner, President and Chief Adoption Officer of Salesforce over at the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford.  

Salesforce actively encourages its employees to donate 1% of their working time to communities in need.  Sumner explained, "Some of our best and most innovative ideas come from experiences our employees have when they go off and spend 1% of their time doing something for a non-profit foundation.  And the numbers we get from the giving part of our business, is just incredible...I've been astonished at product ideas and new ways of doing business."

At the same time, Salesforce will also organize its employees into small groups of 10 to solve problems.  Sumner explained, executives put together a team, present them with a question, and give them a timeframe to solve it.

"And they do it Saturdays, Sundays, they do it at night, it becomes something they become really passionate about," revealed Sumner on how the teams go about solving problems.

The video clip filmed at the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford, highlights Sumner on the subject of innovation.

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