What do McDonald’s Happy Meals, Amazon’s Prime membership, and Sony’s series of PlayStation consoles all have in common?
Yes, they are all innovations which made their respective companies billions in revenue! But did you also know they started out as ideas pitched by non-executive staff? This practice is sometimes referred to as “intrapreneurship;” allowing employees to act like an entrepreneur within their company. Setting up ideation channels within an organisation can harness this intrapreneurship.
There are many benefits to organisations which foster a culture of intrapreneurship. Front line staff are the closest people in any business to the operational processes and direct feedback from customers. Better than anyone they understand the pain points which may not be visible at a senior management or executive level. Not only does encouraging staff to share ideas lead to more efficient processes and happier customers, but staff become more motivated too by seeing their direct input making a difference.
So how can businesses do this?
Well besides the antiquated “suggestions box” there are other points to consider to make this initiative a success. Leaders need to appreciate that very few staff will be able provide a fully fleshed out business case. For example, someone might identify that customers regularly request a new feature of a product; however, they might not know how to go about carrying out the Research & Development. Staff will need help and sponsorship from experienced managers to take the germ of an idea and build a team of capable individuals around it to make it a reality.
Setting up an Ideation Board can be an effective way of agreeing the best ideas. Boards comprising of SME’s can make sure pitches get the right attention. As part of their yearly budgeting process, companies can set aside money which acts as seed funding to progress and prototype the best innovations. Setting a budget aside will help the organisation stay motivated and not abandon the concept as other priorities compete for people’s time. It also helps to incentivise staff to take part by offering public recognition in company communications or even prizes for the best ideas. Healthy competition can naturally occur as different departments or regions strive to have the most ideas raised and progressed.
It also helps if you have a digital platform to manage this. CloudCube’s ideation module can help centralise all ideas and set up workflow and governance around them. Ideas can even be promoted to projects. This allows you to capture the full journey of an idea from inception to benefits realisation. You can find out more about CloudCube from Integrated Cloud here. Alternatively, you can book free demo or ask for more info here.