For your company to remain viable and innovative, you will likely need to present new products and services regularly. The pressure to produce new concepts can be crushing when the source of those new ideas is unknown.
Frequently, the best innovations come from those who use and know the products and services intimately. Those most acquainted with what your company offers, its flaws, and its potential are likely the people that make up your company and work with those products daily.
“Given that we are all capable of contributing new ideas, the question becomes how do you successfully generate, capture, process, and implement ideas?” says David Frood, author of The Thinking Corporation.
The Benefits of Nurturing and Developing Ideas From All Employees:
- Never-ending Innovation – By tapping into the creativity of each employee that wishes to contribute, your company will have a continuous flow of ideas from which to select those that best fit the strategic plan. This means your company will have much higher odds of creating new offerings and reaching new markets in ways that would probably not be possible if those ideas were only coming from a select few.
- Lower staff turnover – A Thinking Corporation will provide employees with fair and reasonable compensation for implemented ideas. This, combined with the culture that must exist for innovation and creativity to flourish, means that new employees will be attracted to the organization and are more likely to stay longer. Lower staff turnover of high-quality employees adds to increased company profits by saving on recruitment, onboarding, and training costs.
- Higher business values – The link between profits and business value means that the moment a corporation creates a new sustainable level of profit, the business value is adjusted accordingly. This provides a real opportunity for public companies to deliver long-term shareholder value and private companies to create wealth for owners and employees.
- Find new, untapped leadership – When people contribute ideas that grow the company, it’s possible that they might also help in seeing those ideas developed to fruition. During the development process, you might unearth leaders that were previously in non-leadership or non-innovation roles.
- Greater life and work satisfaction for all – Your entire team can choose to be as entrepreneurial as they wish; this creates a sense of ownership and worth for each individual that wants to contribute to the growth, evolution, and success of the company.
- Improved productivity – Staffing costs can be reduced because many employees will be far more productive than they were previously. They will be more productive because of the increased motivation and enthusiasm that comes from planning and implementing their ideas. Of course, this does not apply to every employee, only those that choose to participate in the opportunity that this new generation of corporate culture and behavior presents to them.
How to Evolve Your Company Into a Thinking Corporation:
- Understand the organization’s current capacity to generate and implement ideas. Change the culture so people will be willing to contribute. Employees must feel as though they want to help and then know how the system works if they have a contribution to offer.
- Educate the entire organization about the new system. Ensure that all people within the organization have the same understanding of what the new way of working will be, including the reasons for the change and how the company will work with new ideas. It is critical that the most senior management is actively supporting the transition and is seen by all employees to be doing so. Failure to do this step correctly will seriously undermine the probability of the successful implementation of any change program.
- Formalize and implement the new system. Finally, the company must institutionalize a methodology to capture, process, and execute new ideas as well as carry out the training that goes along with this phase. Management must systematize new idea creation just as it does a CRM for managing customers and an ERP for overseeing systems.
Beliefs That Can Get In the Way of Evolving Your Company:
- Management is better at thinking than employees. Really? As ridiculous as it sounds, this is still standard in most corporations.
- All intellectual property is the property of the company. This is a real sticking point for any employee’s willingness to part with their ideas. We need to free up our views and treatment of I.P. to recognize and reward the people who contribute original ideas that lead to significant increases in profits.
- Only the most senior executives of a company can earn significant incomes. In other words, employees don’t benefit from the increase in revenue, profits, and value that accrue from their ideas. Why shouldn’t an employee earn millions of dollars if their company increases its revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars? It makes sense to us.
Most companies know that innovation is core to a thriving business. In the past, companies traditionally limited innovation development to a select small group within the business, which silenced the voices and ideas of the majority who worked for the organization. Allowing your business culture to be one where everyone can aid in innovation and share in the profits and related success will likely speed and enhance new product development, retain employees longer, cut down on R&D, and attract top talent to your team.
David Frood has created a successful consulting business around the ideas expressed in this article. You can learn more about how your business can become a Thinking Corporation by downloading his free e-book aptly titled The Thinking Corporation.
Being a Thinking Corporation means challenging your current leadership structure. Here’s more guidance from our archives to help you evolve and improve your leadership’s culture: