You want your people to innovate, donâ€™t you? Of course you do; yet is it easy for them?
# I bet your corporate values include something like â€˜Our people are our greatest assetâ€™.
# Ever paid a consultant for new ideas? -and do you invest to capitalise on insidersâ€™ suggestions? (yet Iâ€™ll wager you have spent more $ on the external, than on those staff ideasâ€¦)
# Think back to the last appraisal round: how many ideas were held up as successful? -and what proportion of your staff were offering up ideas?
# And maybe you ask them to â€˜Do it Right First Timeâ€™? â€“OK.
# Ever put up a Staff Suggestion Box? -and did you get the response you dreamed of? Noâ€¦
I want you to see, that there is a strong link between employeesâ€™ concerns over have over â€˜getting things wrongâ€™ -especially when those things are the ones counted in their performance, pay and bonuses; and the level of real freedom staff have to come up with radical ideas, to develop & trial them.
Even if we count the adoption separately, its common to find that the part of working life where we place most value on ideas is as a slogan, but much less as real support for doing things differently.
OK, how many of us learnt to ride a bicycle on the first attempt? Come on now, you canâ€™t really expect staff to take risks with an important part of their futures unless you actively support them, by making it OK to admit â€˜failuresâ€™, and to share mistakes; and youâ€™ll need to cover some loss in pay.
But consider the rewards! â€“once the folk who live every day with problems see that you really do want suggestions, they will flow freely. When workers own and promote their own ideas, (not via the cheesy Suggestion Box) adoption of the early offers will encourage others.
Then the organization begins internal learning (which is cheaper!) -and managers will learn much more of where to study and improve the annoying problems that are holding you all back.
Sustainable innovation begins -
inside your organization!