Ever wonder how innovators constantly come up with fresh ideas?
Are you hungry for their secrets?
We picked the brains of some of Taco Bell’s most innovative employees to get their advice on the one thing you should do every day to succeed.
So, chow down on that Double Decker® taco and read on for tips from the pros.
Ask for Opinions
What’s the Manager of Information Technology at Taco Bell, Brynn Pearson’s, favorite taco topping? The work culture at Taco Bell. That’s the fire sauce on top, so to speak.
Being one of a few women in a room full of male engineers isn’t a new experience for Brynn, but she’s delighted to see the evolution toward an inclusive culture that encourages all voices at the table.
And while, she might be a manager, Brynn doesn’t presume to know all the answers. The one thing she does every day to stay on top her game: learn from others. “I talk to people outside of my department and even my industry because you might get ideas for things you’ve never tried before,” Brynn says. Her efforts routinely pay off, sometimes in the most subtle ways.
Recently, Brynn has been focusing on rolling out ordering kiosks at Taco Bell locations. She happened to chat with an employee from the operations team and discovered that a promotion tied to the NBA finals was being offered at store counters. So she decided to work with her team of developers, and soon the offer was rolled out to kiosks just in time for the games.
Dedicated to improving the user experience at the kiosks, Brynn is constantly tweaking improvements to the process based on what the numbers tells her. When the data showed that customers love sour cream on their tacos, she added that as an automatic option to choose from (and we’re not mad about it!).
Brynn recently participated in a leadership development program which involved a whole slate of team-building exercises like the rope-challenge course at the University of California, Irvine. “When you are harnessed 40 feet up in the air, you realize you need your team to make it through. That applies to daily work as well. From a reliance and problem-solving standpoint, innovation comes from bringing people together.”
Question the Norm
Bringing people together is one of Emyay King’s primary responsibilities at Taco Bell. She is in charge of IT Digital Strategy and Program Management, so it’s her job to make sure all the projects are humming along like a well-oiled machine.
To make this happen, the one thing Emyay does every day is question existing protocols to see if there’s room for reinvention. Right now she’s especially excited about Taco Bell’s new digital menu boards, seeing them as a canvas for innovation.
For Emyay the key to innovation is asking yourself questions like “how else can I use the things I work with every day? What new challenges can they solve?” And to stay on top of your game, you need to move outside your comfort zone.
But, the best part about work is the people, Emyay says. Case in point: A recent activity where employees got to take shots at dunking top executives in a tank. That kind of culture makes a huge difference, she says, and encourages others to seek work which mirrors what they value in terms of culture. That, she adds, lets you bring your A-game to the table no matter where you work.
Keep Up With the Industry
As Senior Manager, IT, Scott Kasper knows the importance of always learning and keeping up with industry trends.
His advice: it’s not what you learn, it’s how you learn. “Today’s technology is changing so fast that by the time you finish learning something, it’s already outdated. So focus on how you learn so you don’t become pigeonholed in any one technology,” he says. This way you can apply your work techniques to new projects quickly.
For example, Scott has increased the data infrastructure and computing power at the company so data that comes in through consumer touch points can be analyzed quickly and Taco Bell can calibrate offerings accordingly. It allows the company to be agile and constantly ahead of the curve.
Scott is also a firm believer in the Zen mantra: Fall down seven times, stand up eight. “You have to set yourself up for failure, that forces you to stay on top of your game,” he says. When he assumed the role of Business Intelligence Manager at Taco Bell, he admits he had no previous direct exposure in the field, but he enjoys putting himself in high-pressure situations and learning quickly on the job.
So, learn from others, question existing protocols, and gain an understanding of how you learn, and you’ll be on the path to innovation in less time than it takes to eat a taco! And if you wanted to know what Taco Bell employees really order, they divulged to us below:
Photo of people at work talking courtesy of PeopleImages/Getty Images.
Poornima Apte is an award-winning freelance writer and editor with a special knack for distilling complex concepts into easy-to-understand language and for telling people's stories with empathy. She is happiest when her bedside stash of books resembles a Jenga pile.More from this Author
Sponsored by Taco Bell
Taco Bell was founded on innovation and passion—and that spirit that Glen Bell brought to the masses in 1962 continues to push the company forward. Employees here work in a unique culture that fosters creativity and let them take risks, develop skills and learn in ways that fit their lifestyle. Taco Bell has a “Start with Us, Stay with Us,” mentality that encourages employees to leverage the career-building and education programs Taco Bell offers no matter how long you’ve been with, or plan to stay with, the company. Want to be part of the Southern California team recognized by Fast Company as one of the ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Brands in the World’? Learn more about what it’s like to work at Taco Bell, and check out open jobs.