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Co-Create to Innovate: VMware Employees Owning Transformation

Change can come at us fast and feel frightening. Change in business can sometimes seem out of our control. But when we flex mindsets, it can be exciting! VMware is undergoing our biggest change yet – a transformation to become the multi-cloud SaaS and subscription company of choice.

What is Co-Creation? 

Co-creation is the future. It’s a form of collaborative innovation where ideas are shared and improved together, rather than examined in isolation. It invites diverse perspectives when designing a product, service, or concept. 

Research done by McKinsey in 2021 indicates that the most successful organizations transform through empowering all employees to own and drive the transformation.

“Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole – such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life – the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation, the at-onement.”

Mary Parker Follett 

VMware Employees, Global Sessions, Cross-Functional Teams

The Culture Transformation Office invited all VMware employees interested in helping to solve for how we ignite culture transformation. Over 750 employees responded and joined cross-functional, global sessions to collaborate and discuss with like-minded colleagues. Thousands of ideas were shared and several major themes emerged. Those themes became the basis of Co-Creative Builds. 

Co-Creative Builds Program

Co-Creative Builds is a twelve-week program that gives VMware colleagues across the globe the opportunity to design initiatives and products that empower us to work differently with innovation as we delight our customers. It’s focused on inspiring us to take our work to the next level by building together horizontally, across teams and functions, while building deeply meaningful solutions. 

Who is involved in Co-Creation Builds so far? 

In January 2022, the first Co-Creative Builds kicked off with six cross-functional teams from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, India, Republic of Ireland, UK, and USA. Six groups of diverse and cross-functional VMware employees rallied behind a common mission to tackle and solve one of VMware’s top strategic priorities – adapting our mindset to be One VMware.

Over the course of 11 weeks, the teams operated by the following principles: 

  • Act as One VMware: Solve for an enterprise-wide solution by inviting all perspectives and working together.
  • Create Outside-In: Design with the customer (internal VMware employees) in mind.
  • Move with Urgency: Focus on what matters to enable speed, simplicity, and the ability to fail fast. 

How does Co-Creation Work? 

Teams were each assigned a mindset and employees identified a problem statement to solve. The six teams collaborated on how they could improve or create a tool, process, or design an approach that would empower VMware to move quickly into the future.  

They shaped solutions, connecting dots across functions and teams, based on practical experience and regional considerations. The teams considered mindsets, ways of communication, processes, and internal tools. Throughout the ideation process, it became clear there were many common threads of opportunity. 

With the support and feedback of Executive Sponsors, the teams leaned into common threads and diligently co-designed solutions. Executive Sponsors and colleagues from HR, IT, and many Business Units gave informed advice, guidance, and support as needed. This resulted in the teams plugging into existing initiatives, enhancing them based on colleague experience.  

What will you get out of Co-Creation?  

“This has been the most fun I have had. And I enjoyed going through this process with you all. It has truly redefined collaboration for me!” 

“It was a wonderful experience, and it is a welcome move that the company believed in collective and inclusive decision making!”  

“The success of the program is transforming these ideas into actions under the visibility of executives.”  

The participants shared their final presentations with Raghu Raghuram, Chief Executive Officer, Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer, and other Executive Sponsors and were well received! These ideas, with partnership from interested Co-Creative Builds participants, are being integrated across VMware operational teams and will soon be making a positive impact in our VMware lives and with our customers.  

Thank you to all the participants and Executive Sponsors for going above and beyond as One VMware! You are a great example of living our EPIC2 values in action and embodying our Mindsets: One VMware, Outside-In, and Move with Urgency. 


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