Harvard career expert
Gorick, Harvard
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Harvard career expert

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were invented by a janitor at a Frito-Lays plant who, after noticing that the company didn’t have any spicy flavors, called the CEO and pitched the idea.

Amazon Web Services was invented by a network engineer after his manager asked him to find ways to scale up Amazon’s infrastructure more efficiently. The duo pitched the idea of selling virtual servers as a service to CEO Jeff Bezos — and the rest is history.

Subway’s $5 Footlongs were invented by a franchisee who, after seeing sales slump on weekends consistently, created a new offer and pitched the idea to the company.

When leaders hear examples like these, many wonder: Why can’t this happen in my company? They can become quick to shake up organizational structures and create innovation labs. Might there be an easier and less expensive option?