Innovation in a company doesn’t happen by mistake – or luck. It takes dedication, focus, and the ability to see the bigger picture. Part of our culture of innovation at Trulia is cultivated through a quarterly Innovation Week and today marks the start of our Q4 2015 Innovation Week. I’ve been fortunate enough to lead the program for the last three years, and I continue to be amazed by the dedication, passion, and willingness to take risks by our team.
At a high level, Innovation Week at Trulia is dedicated time for all employees to work on projects they’re passionate about, and outside of their roadmap – think of it as a weeklong hackathon that the whole company can participate in. Not only do we encourage employees to work on projects that are big ideas, we encourage them to work with people or technology they don’t normally work with.
Every Innovation Week also has a theme. While all projects aren’t required to fall within it, we give a special prize to the project that best satisfies the theme. Some past themes include “Audience Growth,” “Rentals,” and “Real Estate Agent Efficiency,” and this quarter’s theme is “Ship It.” We have a great tradition of shipping multiple projects quickly at Trulia and we want to continue that as we continue to grow as a company, so this theme is perfect.
The program starts with “Show and Sell.” Everyone pitches their ideas to the rest of the Innovation Week participants and teams start to form – usually over a beer or two – based on people’s interests or own ideas. The following Monday, Innovation Week officially kicks-off, meaning plans start being developed and projects move off the ground.
We end Innovation Week with “Show and Tell,” which are two sessions of presentations where the whole company is invited to attend and rate each project through an app that was actually built during a previous Innovation Week. The winners of each session get various prizes, but more importantly, one winner gets the opportunity to work with the leadership team to get their project on the roadmap.
We’ve had hundreds of projects presented over the years, and every month something launches that was an Innovation Week project, or at least inspired by an idea that came from an innovation project. As a result, we’ve evolved from our roadmap driving innovation, to innovation driving our roadmap. We have three projects from Q3 2015 launching in Q4, including “Trulia Social Insights,” which give agents a look at a client’s social information for more background information.
Why do we do this? It’s not just to build cool products (although that’s a nice benefit). At Trulia, we want employees to feel ownership in the direction of the company. We want to continue producing innovative solutions to the challenges we – and consumers – face. We want employees to be inspired to innovate every day, in every part of our company, and Innovation Week helps us achieve this.
We’re always looking for new talent so if you’re interested in joining the team, check out our careers page. Stay tuned for a recap of our Q4 Innovation Week next week.