The best ideas come from your people when they feel as though they have the freedom and responsibility to contribute with fearless creativity and expression. This starts with building an empowered and motivated workforce.
Involving everyone in your innovation programme means that you are empowering each person in the organisation to contribute to its future success. Giving everyone a voice immediately inspires a proactive and engaged innovative culture. It is illustrative of the trust that your organisation has in your people’s intelligence and, beyond trust, the ambition to unlock those same people’s ideas to help define the future of your business.
Innovation Culture Case Study - GAM Investments
In April 2020, the global investment management firm GAM, rolled-out Idea Drop to unlock its dormant potential and give anyone in any position a platform to put their ideas forward.
Their ambassador network representing every department and geography is essential to the company-wide adoption of the Idea Drop platform. As it lets everyone feel that they are represented and have a real impact on moving the business forward with their ideas.
GAM utilises key Idea Drop features to showcase to their teams that their ideas matter and to inspire them to continue participating. They use Idea Drop’s workflow and dashboard tools to track ideas, ensuring that every idea, good or bad, is acknowledged and acted on.
How to create an empowered culture when using idea management software
Don’t ignore the diversity in Innovation Challenge ownership
Diversity in the people who author the Challenges, the topics they cover, and the groups and categories they fit within and relate to is a big part of this. We know that diversity will inspire a diversity of people and a diversity of thought in the ideas, comments, discussion and overall activity on and off the site.
Consider gender, race, seniority, specialities and other factors – it will help you build a platform that speaks to everyone’s ideas, rather than the few.
Pay attention to the number of logins and ideas
Do you see people regularly logging in and checking the latest updates on the platform? And, most importantly, does it correlate with the number of ideas dropped on the platform? Because if people are logging in but not taking action or submitting ideas, that might mean they don’t feel safe or empowered to put forward their suggestions.
Welcome cloaked ideas
Cloaked ideas – one of the features that helps to shift your culture – enables you to hide ideators’ identity when they submit an idea and reveal it once it gets some positive traction and feedback. This will slowly but surely give your people trust and confidence to put forward more and more ideas.
A drop-off in the proportion of cloaked ideas over time reflects a growth in confidence in the ideas put forward and trust in the purpose of the platform.
Another way to positively impact your innovation culture is through a continuous reaffirmation of this intrapreneurial license to innovate via bulletins. Acknowledging active contributors and encouraging those who are still hesitant to take action is one of the most powerful ways to drive engagement on the platform.
Rewarding the behaviour (and ideas!) you desire from your people cannot go unmentioned when building a strong, innovative culture. Anything from an Apple Watch to the opportunity to pitch ideas to the senior leadership are great ways to reward your employees for ideas.
Make ideation competitive via leaderboards
Gamification and points collection will get everyone’s natural competitive juices going. Every month, innovation points renew, creating an urgency to climb on top of the leaderboard before time runs out. If you combine this with your rewards and recognition scheme, it can create some great momentum for people to start actively sharing ideas and interacting with each other.
Appoint category and group owners as your innovation guardians
Innovation, and the idea management software that helps to accelerate it, should flow through your usual governance program as it is not a project, but business as usual. That’s why it needs appointed and accountable owners to ensure its continued success.
Innovation Culture Case Study - Cleveland Police
Watch the video below to find out how Cleveland Police is creating a culture of innovation by using Idea Drop.
Here are some questions to help you understand what actions to take if your culture is not yet where you’d like it to be:
- Is everyone (including new joiners) aware enough of the purpose of the platform, communicated through bulletins and other communication channels?
- Is the importance and worth of their contributions transparent enough?
- Are enough resources provided to spark those connections of contexts that are so important for innovation and transformative ideation?
- Is there a clear journey and process from idea to innovation?
- Do you have internal methods of reward and recognition?
- Is the connection clear between the platform and the successes that have come from it?