Medtronic experts help each other fuel innovation, all while saving time and millions of dollars.

Scientists in Lab

Finding a solution to a business challenge often requires a lot of time, resources, and money.  At Medtronic — with its 84,000 employees from 160 countries — technical and business expertise abounds. But getting to the right experts can be a challenge of its own.

When Mitch Finne, a postmarket quality manager at Medtronic, found himself with an application programming problem to solve, he sought help from internal experts rather than relying on an outside resource.

"Within a matter of hours, I had input from technicians and engineers from all levels of the organization," Mitch explains. "Experts across multiple business units, from eight different campuses and three countries helped me." His colleagues even checked back with him to make sure he was able to solve the problem. 

How he did it

The Medtronic Information Exchange (MIX) is an online collaboration network, which enables employees to share their knowledge and experience — leveraging the expansive expertise available within the company — quickly and efficiently.

How it works

Employees post a question to MIX, and often they have an answer to their technical or business challenge within minutes or hours. The answer might come from an employee one floor down or a three time zones away. In FY17, more than 2,000 questions were posted to MIX, and nearly 6,000 responses were generated.

In the past year, each question answered on MIX saved between one-half hour to weeks of working hours.  The result was approximately $2.5 million saved in work hours. Combine that quantitative savings with things like quality issues being avoided, products launching on time, and the qualitative benefits rise exponentially.

The collaboration requires some hands-on management, too.  There are approximately 300 employees around the business that help manage the online community and ensure issues, like Mitch's, get resolved.

“MIX provides tangible technical and business solutions for Medtronic employees — saving time, resources, and money,” explained Mary Maida, MIX community manager. “By connecting employees with subject matter experts, it also helps foster business networking and collaboration — ultimately getting real results.”