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Innovation boot camps: big business looks to the little guy

Posting in Design

Some of the world's biggest companies are sending their employees on a new kind of corporate field trip. They're not attending leadership camps known for obstacle courses and trust circles. They're going to work at a different businesses.

These aren't any old companies. Employees from major corporations are being sent to work at startups to learn how smaller companies get things done with fewer resources, often at a faster pace, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The hope is employees come back with new skills and an entrepreneurial spring in their step that will help them be more efficient, effective and innovative at their own, much larger companies.

PepsiCo and Mondelez, a company of 110,000 employees created when it spun off from Kraft Foods, have sent small groups of employees to work at technology and media startups, according to the WSJ.

These are not roundtable discussions or meet-and-greets. Instead, these arrangements are designed to immerse employees in the work, sort of like an innovation boot camp.

Mondelez has hired Boston Consulting to determine whether its plan to shift more marketing to mobile devices, an initiative that includes sending its workers to technology startups, has had a material effect on its business culture.

Photo: Stock.xchng user Rob Gonyea

— By on March 28, 2013, 2:24 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure