If You Want to Successfully Innovate, You Have to Get Your Staff on Board

Every business knows that they have to be innovative if they are to survive. As a result, effective innovation management software business tools are being installed across the board. However, some now suggest that we are getting it all wrong. We install this software and just hope that the whole problem around innovation is solved. In reality, however, unless we get ever single employee within the organization on board with the system, and actually get them to use it, we may as well not install it at all.

One very famous CEO, if not the most celebrated in all of history, Jack Welch, headed GE (General Electric) for two decades, and he says we are getting innovation wrong. Under his tenure, the value of GE increased by a whopping 4000% (that is three zeroes, yes), equating to more than $400 billion. It was Jack Welch who made GE the world’s most profitable business. He comes from humble backgrounds, however, entering the workforce as a process engineer. But what all of this means is that, when Jack Welch says something, we should all listen.

What Welch says matters, above all else, is that all staff has to be involved in innovation. And this has been confirmed by countless pieces of research. The collective brainpower within an organization is huge, and it is this power that will lead to a true breakthrough within companies. Do you know why companies like Google, Facebook, and Toyota are so successful? Because they trust their employees to take risks and create environments in which they can be creative at all times.

How to Get Your Staff on Board

Now, companies like Google, Facebook, Toyota, and, of course, GE, also have budgets that make this possible. They allocated a significant part of their budgets to this from the word go. You may not be in that position. You may be an established company that now suddenly needs to innovate, meaning that building an office with slides and cushioned relaxation rooms is simply not an option. Luckily, however, there are plenty of things that you can do.

  1. You need to make sure that your company culture is all about innovation. Your innovation software should be clearly promoted and highlighted, and everybody should be reminded regularly to use it. Make sure you have a clear definition of what innovation means for you, and reinforce this definition at every opportunity. Start your monthly newsletter with that definition, plaster it all over your intranet, have it in a plaque above the reception desk.
  2. Lead by example. The janitor is not going to submit a fantastic, breakthrough idea, if they are made to feel like they are lowly employees who have no opinions that matter. Recognize everybody and celebrate everybody. There is no such thing as a bad idea, only bad implementation and management.
  3. Reward every innovation in a timely manner. This doesn’t mean you have to give everyone a Sears voucher whenever they submit an idea, or even a bonus. Simply acknowledge their ideas, preferably as soon as they have been submitted, personally at their desks or publicly during staff meetings.
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