Verys Idea Lab: Igniting Innovation from Home

Verys bringing its wfh employees together through a Shark Tank type competition.

On March 16th, Verys adopted a fully work from home posture. Like many companies, we’ve had to quickly devise ways to keep our employees feeling connected, supported, productive, and engaged.  You can read about that here.

While our adjustments allowed us to maintain the quality and productivity of our client engagements, we continuously pursue ways to bring our employees together while working from afar.

There had been talks in late 2019 about sponsoring an internal “idea contest.” So, when we collectively found ourselves confined to our homes, we figured there may never be a better time than the present.

Thus, the Verys Idea Lab was born!

Verys Idea Lab: Business Idea Contest or Reality TV Show?

Introducing the Verys Idea Lab: an internal reality-TV style entrepreneurial competition inspired by Shark Tank (or Dragon’s Den, for our readers across the pond).

Every Verys team member was invited to submit  their ideas for a viable software product.  The team members with the top ideas would then make their pitch to the entire Verys organization.

20 ideas were submitted using Roman Pichler’s Product Vision Board. They ranged from large scale business solutions, to consumer applications, to expansions of Verys’ own products.  After careful deliberation, three finalists emerged: Christian Halsell, Ryan Rundle, and David Robison.

Glory, prize money and the potential to build out their idea at Verys would soon be on the line.  

Three finalists take the stage

The day of the Verys Idea Lab pilot, almost 200 Verys employees filed into our Microsoft Teams meeting.  They were greeted by our panelists: Mike Zerkel (President), Chris Antonius (CEO), Ondria Kernan (Head of HR), Mike Miner (VP of Client Delivery), and Kevin Dunning (VP of Product) – All dressed to the nines in front of extremely convincing reality TV style backgrounds.

Kevin hosted the show and laid out the scene.  Each contestant would have a few minutes to pitch their idea and respond to questions from the panelists.  Following the last presentation, all Verys employees would cast their votes live to determine the winner.

The finalists all presented compelling pitches appealing to different markets and business needs.  While Ernst & Young declined our request to certify the votes, we know it was quite the close call, with Christian Halsell emerging as the winner!

Verys Idea Lab Winner

Will the Verys Idea Lab be Green-lit?

It remains to be seen whether the Verys Idea Lab will get picked up by a network for a full season (or issued a Cease and Desist from you-know-who).

Regardless, we accomplished our goal of bringing our employees together for some light-hearted fun and healthy  competition.  

The success of the idea lab relied fully on the creative thinkers within Verys.  As Mike Zerkel puts it, “Our value proposition is centered around the talent and diversity of thought in our teams.  We are quick to innovate and solve problems and that is in the core of our DNA.  This is often why our clients select Verys as their software partner.”

Stay tuned for episode two!

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Jacqueline Taylor

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