Asking employees to think of the next big idea is a challenge because it takes many, many sparks to get to that golden innovation that will move the needle. Having an employee suggestion box is one way to solicit ideas from people but the age-old challenge becomes:
Who is going to sift through all those suggestions? How are they going to determine which ones are worth pursuing?
A lot of companies create idea or innovation committees to review ideas – no matter how small or how big, no matter how much information is provided. This ends up taking a lot of people’s time and spinning wheels that has resulted in a lot of process with little result.
The solution is to re-invent the process. There will still need to be reviewers of ideas but there is an easier path to travel. The key is to put the responsibility of researching and selling the idea on the shoulders of the person who suggested it. It’s too easy to suggest we should “give employees every other Friday off” with exploring and documenting its impact.
To challenge people more and minimize the reviewer’s time create an idea sheet (form) that describes…
- WHAT the idea is
- WHY it should be addressed
- WHAT the costs in time, resources and money are
- WHAT are our competitors doing
- HOW this will move the financial needle
- WHAT stakeholders should be involved
Answering these questions make review time more efficient and gives the idea person some ownership!