How To Turn Ideas Into Innovation

Idea WomenTurn your employees’ ideas into successful innovations.

According to this article in Forbes Magazine, “…the workplace has trained and conditioned the mindset of its employees to be doers (sowers) versus thinkers (growers).”

How can you make sure your employees have the opportunity to be “growers” and contribute more to your organization? Here are some ideas…

Get the Creative Juices Flowing

  • Build a rapport with your employees to ensure that they feel comfortable coming to you with ideas. Employees can have great ideas, but complain that their managers aren’t open to them. Create a comfortable atmosphere to invite the innovators.
  • Use brainstorming sessions to break down the management wall and make your employees more comfortable with sharing ideas. IBM has been using “Jams” to bring its over 300,000 employees together and foster innovation within their company. However, even a session as small as a few employees around a table can make a huge difference in encouraging employee creativity.
  • Clearly define the problems that need improvement. You can better guide employee creativity by identifying a specific topic of concern in your organization. Have each brainstorming session emphasize one issue at a time to keep energy focused.
  • Give opportunities for employees to think and do. Google is well-known for using a wide variety of methods to engage their employees. They use Google Cafés to encourage interactions between employees both within and outside of their departments. They also introduced the Google 20% Factor, which allows employees to devote 20% of their time at work to individual projects. Find methods that will match your organization’s needs.
  • Utilize gamification to engage your employees in a more fun, competitive environment. Set up innovation competitions to energize the workplace. Reward your employees for their efforts, but avoid monetary compensation. Instead, allow them to showcase their winning ideas to management and other employees.

Take Action

  • Encourage employees to submit ideas. Keep yourself available to offer feedback throughout the innovation process.
  • Help expand their ideas: If an employee does offer a successful idea, keep it going! Encourage them to begin with a core idea, but don’t ignore opportunities for expansion. Glenn Llopis of the Luna Rossa Corporation had one main goal: he wanted to see his marinated artichoke hearts on Costco shelves. He then discovered a need for pasta sauces and dressings, added these goods to his inventory, and now sells them to over 6,000 retail stores in North America. Don’t overlook the possibility of growth!

In order for your organization to thrive, employees must be active contributors. Start by using these steps as a guide, then invest in an Idea Management System to organize and implement the ones that best fit your needs.

Suggested Next Steps:

Lauren MacLeod

Hello, I’m your author, Lauren MacLeod. I spend a lot of my time researching the best practices for innovation management, and writing articles to share them. I hope you find them helpful! I work at Accompa – one of our products is IdeaGlow innovation management software.

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