At PwC, innovation is an important part of developing solutions to complex, emerging business issues. We see innovation as an integral part of delivering effective services to our clients and positioning ourselves as thought leaders.
Innovation serves our people by helping them reach their full potential as problem-solvers and entrepreneurs, and helps us build an organization of leaders at all levels. As sustainability and corporate responsibility issues claim more prominence on the strategic agendas of our clients, our ability to provide innovative approaches and solutions becomes ever more important in delivering value to them. In this way, innovation is part of our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen, and enables our future success.
To lead these crucial efforts, the PwC Innovation Office works closely with our business units to inspire and accelerate the pace of innovation at the firm, focusing attention on promising ideas, identifying the right resources to evolve those ideas, and removing barriers to their implementation. Programs such as Power Pitch, Open University, iPlace, and our Global Innovation Network embed the principles of innovation into many aspects of our business. Click for more information.
Employee engagement is a critical component of our innovation approach at PwC. Through the use of iPlace, a 24/7 online outlet for our people to solicit ideas on anything from enhancements to staff programs to better ways to serve our clients, we gather ideas using a structured process. Those ideas with the greatest potential for implementation are evaluated. During FY11, more than 23,000 PwC people visited iPlace, a 30% increase over the previous year. Over a two-year period, 3,500 ideas have been submitted to iPlace.
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A prominent example of an Innovation Office initiative was PowerPitch, a firm-wide competition launched in FY11 to identify a new service offering. Open to all US PwC employees, more than 10,000 PwC people participated, generating 779 business proposals. In early FY12, we announced the winning idea, and awarded the winning team $100,000. Additionally, the Innovation Office is working with the relevant practices to explore the implementation of the top five ideas, with the potential to develop the 20 semi-finalist ideas. The unique PowerPitch crowdsourcing approach was the subject of an in-depth article in Fortune magazine.
At PwC, we have ingrained sustainability as part of our core strategy to create value for the firm. Just as in many of our clients’ organizations, we see our PwC sustainability strategy as key to our ability to achieve important objectives such as attracting and retaining talent, containing costs, and driving revenue. We strongly believe that, with the right sustainability strategy in place, businesses can do the right thing for the community and the world while also growing the bottom line. We're proud to communicate our results in this annual report.
We are also proud to carry our focus on sustainability out to our clients. Our Sustainable Business Solutions (www.pwc.com/us/sustainability) practice engages with leading US companies every day, providing a range of services linked to the sustainability agenda. From helping to integrate sustainability within corporate strategy, to addressing supply chain risks, to capitalizing on reporting and tax opportunities, PwC brings the right solutions to our clients through our dedicated team of sustainability professionals.
“There’s value in the company picking key megatrends that have a commercial potential. Trends like sustainable energy, infrastructure needs around water, transportation and housing or human health, and food productivity create markets that fit our core capabilities. By applying screening criteria to our investment and new product development decisions, we effectively integrate sustainability with our strategy.”
David Kepler, executive vice president of business services, chief sustainability officer (CSO), and chief information officer (CIO) for The Dow Chemical Company.