A Good Idea To Make Innovation Work – Listen To Your Team’s Ideas!


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Are you bombarded with ideas from people in your team? Do they regularly generate suggestions on how your business could improve? Are they forever coming up with new ways of doing things?

Not really? Only sometimes? Never? Is that because that they don’t have any ideas? Probably not! It’s more likely to be the fact that you don’t have any sort of process for them to put forward their ideas.

New research suggests that over a quarter of UK employees (27%) are sitting on ideas that they think would be good for their business but they’re not putting those ideas forward. Why? Is it because they’re not bothered? No, it’s because there’s no platform or process for doing so! In fact, the research says that 71% of UK businesses don’t have any such platform for contributions to be made.

So, what does a ‘platform’ look like? Well, it doesn’t have to be ‘all singing all dancing’, but there does need to be some sort of ‘process’ (‘my door is always open’ is not a process by the way!). Here are a few simple examples we’ve seen…

Pizza Problem Solving…. The team gets together for an hour over some pizzas at 1.00pm on one Friday lunchtime a month to generate ideas to overcome a specific business problem or issue (The boss leaves the room to let them get on with it!). He comes back in at 1.45 and they put forward their ideas and suggestions. By 2.00pm steps to move things forward are agreed.

Stand In Other People’s Shoes…. Individuals shadow their colleagues in other departments for a half day and there’s a debrief process where individuals feedback… 1 thing that surprised them…. 1 thing that impressed them…. 1 thing they’d question…. 1 thing they’d do differently

Front Line Fix….. Teams are allocated £200 to solve, fix, eliminate or improve a problem system or process that’s holding them back, upsetting customers, creating waste and frustration

Ten For A Tenner Tuesdays….. A team of individuals are given £10 each to buy a sandwich and a drink at a local café or pub and have a discussion about a specific issue or problem. They are tasked with generating 10 ideas which they bring back to the office and present to the MD (She says she doesn’t give them more than a tenner or they don’t come back!)

‘I Like, I Wish, I Wonder…. A simple weekly ‘process’ employed at Pulse to generate suggestions in their fast growing business (see more here).

Boss For The Day…. Ask individuals ‘If you were the boss here what one thing would you change?’ ‘Systemise’ the process – do it with a different individual each week / month

Think ‘Carlsberg’…… You’ve seen the adverts… Ask your people ‘If Carlsberg ran our business, what would it look like?’ Use the ideas to generate discussion.Innovation Assessment Tool

Creativity and innovation is not prescriptive. What works for one business, won’t necessarily work for you, but it might. Your challenge is to do something – One idea often leads to another. Hopefully, reading this has ignited a spark. Just do what works for you, or might just work for you!

Whatever you do, it’s about giving time, permission and encouragement to make this stuff happen. Allow (push?) your people to DO THINGS with the ideas – set a date for ‘reporting back’, highlight successes and build on the results, ‘reward’ those who do it – THAT’S a ‘platform’!

So, how does your business measure up?

Well, one way to find out is to ….


to find out!

Why not get your team to do the same, create a bit of time to discuss the findings, and then crucially…. DO SOMETHING!

Interestingly, the research suggests that your team will appreciate this – 73% of employees were more concerned about having their contributions valued at work than a good salary or benefits package!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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