I recently gave a presentation to a group of small & mid sized business owners on how to be more effective in managing their innovation efforts and I was asked….how do you get the ‘guy’ (or girl) in the warehouse engaged in the process?
The question was really around how do you get everyone in an organization to contribute to the company’s innovation efforts whether that’s through generating ideas or working on a project team.
The simple answer is that you have to demonstrate and show that things are being taken seriously and the only way to do that is to EXECUTE on the ideas that are brought forward. That’s not to suggest you need to develop ideas that don’t make business sense but rather that you look for ways to implement a number of small projects that DEMONSTRATES the company commitment to innovation projects.
This could be small projects that reduce/reuse or recycle material, find faster ways to do things or perhaps just reduce costs in small ways. The important thing is that there is TANGIBLE evidence the company is acting on ideas that are coming out of an innovation exercise.
Nothing will kill a company wide program faster than when there is no evidence of results. I would suggest that a company needs to act within 30-60 days from the start of the program to the first initiative. This will help sustain and build momentum for the program and ensure that employees stay committed.
So to keep employees engaged in the process there needs to be PROOF POINTS!