In competitive industries, there is an increasing amount of pressure on businesses to seek out and develop better and faster innovation processes. With this in mind, a greater number of businesses are turning to their employees for ideas. In doing so, not only are they finding that employees from across their company are able to come up with great solutions and innovations, but that asking their employees to be more engaged with the future of the company also helps to improve morale and retention.
Many successful products have been the result of companies encouraging collaborative innovation and intrapreneurship. In fact, many of the companies that we consider to be the most innovative and ground breaking offer their employees the opportunity to spend 10-20 percent of their time working on independent projects. This approach has been a great success for the likes of Google, 3M, and Intel, and has the lead to the creation of products like iCloud, Gmail, the Post-It Note, and the PlayStation. Often times it is employees working on the front lines who are able to see the best solutions or innovations that could help a company – the difficulty is providing them with a voice to express themselves.
In an article published in the Harvard Business Review Govindarajan and Desai found that in a firm of only 5,000 employees there are, one average, at least 25 natural innovators*. Whilst research also published in HBR found that 70% of successful entrepreneurs got their business idea whilst working for a previous employer.* Creative employees leave because they are not able to develop innovations with their employer. Why run the risk that your own business is missing out on a potential tool for growth?
Collaborative innovation is not just limited to the contributions of a select few natural innovators at large tech companies or those in fast-moving industries. Even in a sector like food, typically seen as being slower moving and less innovative, collaborative innovation has produced incredible results. This approach helped Kraft to redefine its Lunchables brand in 2013 by targeting teens with the launch of Uploaded. The move was a great success and $125 million in sales in its first year.*
A 2015 Nielsen study revealed just how beneficial collaborative innovation can be to product success. Not only did it demonstrate that greater input helped to develop better products, but it also showed that customers had a preference for products that had been worked on and developed by larger teams * .
Encouraging your employees to express their ideas and contribute to every stage of product and concept development can prove to be immensely beneficial, the only challenge is putting in place the platform and policies that allow them to do this.
The conventional hierarchical structure of corporations can often stifle employee creativity. Employees often feel that they do not have a means with which to express new ideas, or that it is not their place to make suggestions. Even worse, they may also fear that a bad suggestion might put their job at risk. Companies at the forefront of innovation to innovate and innovate.
To address this problem, IBM started their InnovationJam in 2001. InnovationJam is a two to three daylong event that enables companies to hold ‘jam’ sessions in which employees suggest solutions to on-going business problems. The model has been a great success, and in its first iteration IBM received more than 46,000 ideas from only 140,000 employees * . The model has been copied and replicated by many other large corporations, including Dell and Starbucks, but it only encourages intrapreneurship, creativity, and innovation during a designated period of time. Why limit the opportunity for your employees to make a greater contribution to your business?
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. With Braineet , there is no limitation on when and where your employees can suggest ideas. The platform encourages constant participation from your employees and provides them with a forum in which they can express themselves. In a 2016 study, Braineet found that two out of three companies planned on adopting a platform to facilitate and enable collaborative innovation, are you one of them? * Great ideas and innovations can come from your full potential and creativity of your employees and help to keep you a step ahead of your competition. You can click here to find out more about Braineet and how it can help your company to innovate and grow.
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* Study conducted by Braineet in the first quarter of 2016