Keeping Innovation Alive

Keeping Innovation Alive

From:  Companies Corral Staff for In-house Brainstorming

It sounds more like reality TV than a reasoned strategy. Last year, Best Buy picked four groups of salespeople in their 20s and early 30s and asked the strangers to room together for 10 weeks in a Los Angeles apartment complex. On the agenda, besides hanging out at the beach: coming up with businesses the electronics retailer could roll out quickly and cheaply.

There is no doubt that organizations will go to great lengths to find the next great idea.   The best ideas often come from within, and mining every last bit of internal innovation is a challenging task. 

Three important steps:

Foster a culture of innovation In order for innovation to thrive, companies need to let employees know that any and all ideas are welcome from anyone at anytime.  There must be communication channels in place for employee input and feedback, and that feedback needs to be welcomed positively from management.  Locking employees in a cabin in the woods is a pretty extreme approach, considering any ideas that come out in that cabin are probably already in the heads of those exposed to it daily in the company.  The real challenge for the organization is building the systems and culture to bring the ideas to the surface.  

Modern social media tools can be an effective solution for meeting this challenge.  Many organizations are now turning to wikis, blogs, podcasts, message boards and other digital feedback mechanisms to capture staff ideas.  These digital solutions can often be the easiest way, but whatever the channel, ideas must be effectively communicated.

Effectively communicate ideas In addition to a culture of innovation, there must also be a culture of communication.  All staff need to understand the value of creating succinct emails, reports, wiki-entries, message board posts, etc. that communicate key points in a reader-friendly manner.  Managers do not want to leave these “idea diamonds” in the “rough” of a long paragraph, unclear sentence or mismatched subject heading. 

CommuniSkills consultants have spent 30 years helping companies  ensure their best thinking is communicated properly.  Our consultants specialize in improving the communication culture of an organization by offering classes in business writing, scientific writing and oral presentation skills. 

Share ideas across SBUs and across functions  Once organizations take steps to build an organizational culture focused on innovation and communication, it is important to allow the effectively communicated ideas to cross-pollinate.  What may seem like scraps to one project team, may be the exact solution a completely unrelated business function was searching for.  Digital social media solutions allow organizations to build a searchable knowledge base that the entire company can access.

CommuniSkills can also help your organization develop a corporate communications plan that includes the latest digital solutions to the challenges your organization faces.

jstewart administrator

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