Qingdao, China-based appliance giant Haier was named by Fast Company as one of world's most innovative companies, and one of China's ten leading innovative companies.
Fast's 2014 rankings, tracking innovation leadership, highlighted Haier's "bold approach to innovating" through allowing employees to self-organize.
The citation recognizes Haier's creation of a flat management structure, which it calls a "management revolution" putting customer needs at the heart of product development. Haier encourages staff to track evolving market trends and form autonomous project teams to address emerging opportunities, which helps foster entrepreneurial innovation among employees,
Haier calls these self-organizing employee working groups ZZJYT, which is a Chinese acronym that means 'independent operation unit.'
The Tianzun air-conditioner, which debuted at CES in Las Vegas in January 2014, was developed by a self-managing group that recognized growing customer demand for a more flexible and responsive air-conditioner. An online engagement program now involves more than 670,000 internet users.
The Fast editorial team spends months gathering data to help identify enterprises that exemplify the best in business. Honorees in 2014 include major brands like Google and Amazon and creative emerging firms like Tesla and Box.
Other 2014 honorees:
• iRobot, maker of Roomba and other home appliance robotics.
• Quirky, which is expanding in the smart home control market with help from a $30 million investment and partnership with GE.
• Philips, which changed the 120-year-old lightbulb market model with its hyperefficient LED bulbs and user-controllable, interactive Hue system.
• Nest, the home automation company acquired by Google in January of this year and maker of the learning thermostat, which Fast calls "game-changing."
• SmartThings, with a platform of Internet-connected devices that enable users to customize connected homes.
Haier Group is a privately held home appliance and consumer electronics maker, with 2013 global revenues of US$29.5 billion and profit of US$1.76 billion. It sells its products in more than 100 countries.
to Daily News