Whether starting from scratch or just looking to improve your current innovation program, these are the pieces you need to build a program that improves your culture and bottom-line.
Solidify a Source of Ideas and Feedback
– Leadership shouldn’t be the only group asked (or tasked) to come up with new ideas to move your organization forward. Get your employees engaged and thinking by asking them questions. Challenge them to make new observations and share their thoughts on a regular basis. It can have a serious effect on your bottom-line.
Develop a Means to Collect and Organize
– If your employees are willing to speak up, a suggestion box isn’t enough. It lacks direction, transparency, and opportunities for collaboration. An investment in even basic idea management software can help formalize your idea collection process and provide a strong ROI in numerous aspects of your organization.
Set some Review Standards
– If ideas are coming in, don’t ignore them. Set up a repeatable review process to guarantee accountability for who is conducting reviews, when they begin and end, and how ideas move forward. Don’t forget to share the results with your employees.
Formalize a Testing Environment
– Not every new idea is going to make the cut to full implementation. But that doesn’t mean testing should be ignored for those that don’t shout “winner” from first glance. Take the time to do market research, build case-studies, interview customers, and calculate projections. This will help uncover high-potential ideas that you may have missed and avoid the “Idea Black Hole”.
Craft an Implementation Plan
– Ideas in your innovation program are worthless without action. Confirm or set where the funds for new projects come from and who manages those projects, and for each project, create a go-to-market plan. These will vary greatly from project to project, but are a crucial step to track your progress. Steps and templates can be found easily online.
Get Executive Support
– This could have been #1. Without support from up top, all innovation program efforts could be a waste of time. Work with leadership to formalize the goals for your innovation program. Then, secure funding for new projects and human resources to create a program that both improves culture and the bottom-line within your organization.