Unlocking The Power Of Employee Driven Innovation

Scientific Research Finds the Secret to Unlocking the Power of Employee Driven Innovation

Did I get your attention? It wasn’t a gimmick to get you to click!

Here’s the facts. Add up the value of all your LEAN, 6 Sigma and Innovation Engineering cost savings projects then multiply times 4 – that is the increase in savings you can realize if you implement a High Performance Idea system with your employees.

A 4X increase as a result of employee driven ideas is what happens when you install a High Performance Employee Idea System. This finding comes from Dr. Dean Schroeder co-author of Idea Driven Organization Unlocking the Power in Bottom Up Ideas and from our experience at the Innovation Engineering Institute building 3 generations of collaboration systems. I’ve known Dean for 15 years. Here’s a link to a webinar I did with him last week on the subject.

High Performance Idea Systems have a number of design traits that separate them from classic suggestion boxes and social media sharing systems:

  • Leadership Defines What’s VERY Important: When you ask for ideas with no direction you get ideas with no direction. High Performance systems provide clear strategic direction of what Leadership of the company or department are looking for. This means absolute clarity on: Mission, Narrative, Strategic Exclusions, Tactical Constraints and Exploration Areas.
  • Time, Resources, Policies: When the employees are focused on what’s VERY Important then there is a willingness to provide support for the effort. Successful programs provide employees with a couple hours a week – 30 Minutes in a weekly CREATE session and 90 Minutes working on creating and implementing ideas. They also provide experts to help the process Innovation Engineering Black Belts or LEAN / 6 Sigma experts. Lastly, they remove barriers to new ideas – providing small amounts of money for implementation and experimentation, setting rules for sharing ideas and challenges inside and outside the company.
  • Make it EASY to PRIVATELY Share Ideas & Drive out Fear: Employee fear of getting in trouble, looking stupid, saying the wrong thing is at epidemic proportions. The best way we know to address this is by providing systems that enable employees to create PRIVATE networks of collaboration and to allow them to make PRIVATE responses to company requests.
  • Educate Teams and Energize with Weekly Create Sessions: Provide basic training in how to Create, Communicate and Commercialize ideas. We do this through our Innovation Engineering Workshops. Then, keep the stimulus coming. Each week conduct a 30 minute CREATE session in each department or work group focused on igniting fresh ideas. Educate employees through a Spark Deck and collaboration exercises.
  • Ignite INTRINSIC Motivation: The research is clear that paying for ideas through contests and the like creates a short term energy that soon dies. To create a sustained High Performance Idea System ignite intrinsic motivation through – personal Thank You’s – and celebrations of all those who participated in the effort each month. Provide a stronger sense of belonging to those who participate then those who don’t.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? – You are thinking this seems like a lot of work. It’s actually not. We’ve built these principles into the Innovation Engineering Labs 3.0 – Collaboration Cafe and education programs such that they work right out of the box – you will see an impact in 30 days.

And yes we are serious that when you get full employee engagement the impacts are incredible. The initial goal for a High Performance Idea System is 12 Ideas Implemented Per Employee Per Year. The upside potential companies have realized is 100 ideas implemented per employee per year.

It’s Not Just for Cost Savings: You can use the same system with your field sales team or customer service teams for ideas for growth and service. Basically, anywhere you have people with a mission you can multiply effectiveness through a High Performance Idea System.

Here is Dr. Deming’s way of articulating the power of enabling employees

“The result will in time be greater innovation, applied science, technology expansion of market, greater service, greater material reward for everyone. There will be joy in work, joy in learning. Anyone that enjoys work is a pleasure to work with. Everyone will win; no loser.”

Doug Hall

Doug Hall
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