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Twelve seems to be the magic number around the festive period, the twelve days of Christmas, and one of our Spanish colleagues told us that in Spain it is tradition to eat 12 grapes after midnight on New Year’s day to ring in the year with good luck. So, we thought it best that we share our 12 innovation top tips.

1. Don’t let ideas get lost in your organization

One of the biggest problems in innovation is that good ideas are overlooked, and this is predominately because they’re not visible to the wider organization. With teams working remotely, or field employees spread out across the country, ideas are often only surfaced to small local teams when if they were shared with the wider organization have the potential to make a huge impact.

Find out how Haley & Aldrich overcame this challenge this here.

2. Don’t restrict creativity

While innovation is typically viewed by organizations as a top-down process with management setting the challenges and employees responding with their suggestions, giving employees the freedom to contribute ideas, democratizes the whole innovation process and enables good ideas to come from anywhere. Bottom-up innovation gives employees the opportunity to express these thoughts.

Hear how Kwintes enabled their employees to contribute to innovation here.

3. Be transparent

Be transparent with your teams about why you’re trying to innovate, what challenges are you trying to overcome, but more than this, also be transparent with your feedback. Let people know if their idea has been progressed or give them a reason as to why it hasn’t. This is important for the continued engagement in organizational wide innovation, but also for the personal development of your employees.

4. Don’t over complicate the process

To gain return for your organization, the innovation process should be structured and repeatable. If the process is too complex or unwieldy, employees may feel discouraged to contribute. An unengaging and complicated innovation process can cause:

  • Good ideas to be overlooked
  • Ideas to remain undeveloped
  • Benefits to not be fully realized

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5. Don’t launch & leave

If your employees are expected to invest their time into putting ideas on to your innovation management platform, management must reflect that to ensure that the platform is engaging and enriching. Keep it updated with information about the progress of ideas, reward employees for their contributions. Keep them involved throughout the entire process, the minute you stop communicating with them, is when your process reverts back to the unengaging suggestion box in the cafeteria.

6. Enable good collaboration

You might not recognize a good idea at first, sometimes they need a little refining before you’re happy to progress with them. Your organization will have a wide array of perspectives, perfect for developing ideas. Enable collaboration and watch as ideas begin to show real potential for the business. Utilizing a tool that integrates with existing collaboration tools your employees love such as Teams and Yammer, enables your organization to leverage their existing collaboration investments, allowing them to develop ideas without the need for extra training and further software adoption.

Discover how edison365ideas integrated with Teams and Yammer here.

7. Keep strategy in mind

Whether you are allowing employees to suggest strategically unaligned ideas or not, keeping strategy in mind during evaluation is key to understanding the value the suggestion will bring to the business. edison365ideas understands this and enables organizations to set KPIs to use during the evaluation stage of ideation, this is known as the ideas triage and it ensures that evaluation is aligned to the strategic priorities of the organizations. Reviewers can evaluate ideas against these configurable factors and an average is produced identifying the most viable solutions for the organization.

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8. Build a business case

When evaluating innovations, there needs to be communication with the teams who will be delivering it. There are other factors past initial costs and impact, such as timescales and scope of the delivery team. Justification is needed before projects teams can implement the idea, which is where a business case can support your organization.

9. Reward innovative thinking

For many innovation teams, not every idea turns into a game-changing new product development or project, and they can often feel unseen by the wider organization and become disengaged in their work. Therefore, align your innovation activities to your reward and recognition program. This will also help engage more employees to contribute to innovation.

10. Engage all your stakeholders

Wider members of your organization’s ecosystem such as partners, suppliers and even customers have insight into your products and services that your internal teams may not be aware of. Use Open Innovation to engage all your stakeholders and unlock new perspectives and opportunities for development.

11. Think end to end

To make ideas pay, you need to ensure that all the benefits your identified within your initial evaluation are carried out in the delivery stage. Connecting your project delivery process with your innovation process will create an end-to-end process that can take ideas from the drawing board through to the balance sheet.

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