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Posted on June 02, 2014
On Thursday, four teams of Booz Allen employees will compete for investment dollars to fund their original business ideas in the firm’s second Combustion Chamber event. Modeled after the hit TV show, “Shark Tank,” Combustion Chamber competitors pitch their ideas in front of a group of Booz Allen’s senior leaders, who decide if the firm should invest the team’s idea for a future client solution.
Thursday’s event--held at Cross Campus, a start-up incubator in Santa Monica, California--is one in a series internal events that complement existing programs to foster innovation.
The Combustion Chamber process is simple--employees submit ideas, solutions and product innovations for consideration, and the best proposals end up with an opportunity to pitch that idea—just like on “Shark Tank.”
This event, which has been held at several Booz Allen locations in the past year, is one of the many activities the firm engages as it uses innovation to grow. Championed by the 1,800-person Strategic Innovation Group, Booz Allen now uses tools like the Combustion Chamber, the employee Ideas Festival, partnerships with innovators, strategic alliances and the development of technology products to generate the best, most advanced ideas.
Even if a team does not secure funding, going through the process is time well spent from a professional development perspective. Teams who are selected to compete in the Combustion Chamber are given access to senior leadership who serve as mentors and coaches. They also have the opportunity to engage with colleagues and use the firm’s resources and expertise to perfect their presentation, package and promotion of their idea. Ideas are judged based on whether they meet a valuable market need, business model viability, concept maturity and market opportunity.
Last fall, the winning team was awarded $40,000 in investment funding to support their idea: PopulationPlus, a tool that now helps a federal agency client manage its response to Comprehensive Immigration Reform.