Employee idea schemes are a seemingly good idea.
Why wouldn’t you try and harness the creativity & ingenuity of your employees.
It’s a great way to unlock greater innovation.
They start with great enthusiasm but rarely (in my experience) are sustainable.
People who submit ideas often complain that it takes ages to have them approved whilst leaders complain that the ideas are rarely aligned with the priorities of the business.
Here is a radical way to turn this around and unlock the creativity and innovation of all employees.
Launch a 30 day idea employee program
Every 30 days one of the leaders of the organisation sets a challenge that he/she is struggling with.
This becomes the focus for all employees energy and creativity.
The challenge can be tight e.g. we are looking for some new product ideas that are aimed at the kids market which we can test in the next 3 months.
You can have a monthly session where anyone can volunteer to work on this challenge.
The can even Blitz the challenge by themselves or with a small group.
In this way the ideas will be aligned with the goals of the business and the leader setting the challenge has a vested interest in capturing, evaluating and testing ideas as quickly as possible.
In the next 30 days another leader sets another challenge.
In this way the program is kept fresh and the leadership of the program is rotated around the senior management team.
Another key driver of the 30 day program is to outline in advance how the ideas are to be evaluated.
This means that the people submitting the idea can self-score their ideas and it provides a more objective way of evaluating ideas rather than ‘it was not approved.’
Ideally all the ideas should be captured, scored and presented as a report at the end of the 30 day period so that the key learnings can be shared across the business.
A 30 day idea program is focused, effective and will keep the interests of employees and leaders aligned.
Employee idea schemes can become a key competitive advantage and a key plank of building a stronger innovation capability.