Innovating with the LinkedIn Idea Bank

August 29, 2012

LinkedIn hackdays are a special day every month when our engineers are encouraged to work on something new and innovative. This month, we extended this spirit of innovation beyond the engineering team in our second bi-annual Innovation Challenge.

To help foster this challenge, the LinkedIn Idea Bank was born. The LinkedIn Idea Bank is a new internal website  created and managed by employees. It leverages the LinkedIn API and contains features to handle idea creation, such as handling slides and video content, as well as features like search, voting, commenting and tagging to enable engagement and participation by the whole company. With this in place, employees leveraged this opportunity to share their ideas with the entire company: teams were formed; ideas voted on; feedback from peers, managers and executives was given; and ideas were iterated on. In just one week, the LinkedIn Idea Bank had 3,507 votes, 389 comments, 152 projects submitted, and 8 minutes on average spent on the site by employees! LinkedIn employees submitted a wide range of ideas from internal productivity tools to LinkedIn site features to using LinkedIn for charitable opportunities.

A lot of past employee ideas have already become reality. One example is inGraphs, a widely used internal tool to track site performance on LinkedIn. This tool was built by “Eric the Intern” (Eric is now a full-time employee at LinkedIn, but his nickname lives on) during a hackday.

Six 40" TV's with inGraphs from across LinkedIn

Come next hackday, the most voted on ideas will hopefully have the momentum to progress from being just an idea, to becoming a reality. Meanwhile, the LinkedIn Idea Bank will continue to live on as a feeder into LinkedIn’s innovation ecosystem.