This article first appeared August 4, 2011.
Generating good ideas and acting on them is a constant challenge in any business.
There are countless ways this can be done.
Brainstorming sessions are an old favourite.
A strategy day can also work, particularly if you can find a good facilitator to keep the ideas flowing and the participants on the right track.
Sales conventions involving staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders is another worthwhile tactic.
But the problem with these ideas is that they make innovating seem like an irregular activity – we have a conference once a year, or a brainstorming session once a quarter.
For continuous innovation, why not try something different and simple.
Set up a suggestion box (a physical one or an electronic one, or both) into which staff are expected to contribute one idea every month.
Emphasise that it doesn’t have to be earth shattering – a simple change to accounts processing or packaging information could be as important – and as profitable – as an entirely new product.
Little, easy-to-implement ideas are in some ways more important than big ideas that cannot actually be put in place.
Pick the best idea of the month and reward the creator with a little something – movie tickets, a parking spot for the month or a day off.
Highlight how much value you put on ideas and you’ll get them flowing in no time.
Get it done – today!