In project SURGE, we follow the vision to help organizations transform into “Innovation Champions”. What do we mean with that?
Well, we would love to see that companies have a sustainable culture that triggers the identification or creation of ideas that help them improve their work. In the Best Case, that triggers a constant stream of new innovative solutions.
But when thinking further, the next question coming to my head was: Imagine we have achieved to create a culture where everyone is collaborating like there is no tomorrow – how can we establish a constant flow of new innovative ideas come up? On the one hand, we can hope for individuals to make use of this new culture and be intrinsically motivated enough to recognize a possibility for improvement, identify the right people to work on the solution and then implement it. But maybe instead of hoping for the world to become better, we might also use the chance and push it a little.
But is there maybe a room to give employees some capacity for innovative activities?
What came to my mind is the introduction of a virtual space to help ideas grow. Think of your idea like a seed: Imagine you can bring your seed into a garden where gardeners are there to help you plant your seed, find the right experts that know how seeds of that type grow best and whom you should ask for help to take care of your seed. This garden could be setup like an open house with staff that fluctuates, maybe even a voluntary project of people who are interested in gardening.
(source: SAP Image Library)
So wouldn’t it be nice to have something like an “Innovation Garden” in your company? A voluntary place (might be a virtual place!) where employees can contribute if they are interested in developing innovative solutions and learning new skills outside of their comfort zone. To empower employees to become a part of this, Executive Sponsors could host an event similar to “Shark Tank”/”Höhle der Löwen” regularly where ideas can be pitched and budget can be assigned to the most promising project ideas. Or a virtual voting could happen across the company to see which idea is be seen as the most helpful one. Individual KPIs for Gardening participation on both management and employee level could help to avoid conflicting goals.
As I said, just some ideas which will hopefully grow further (like a planted seed 😉 ) .
Would love to get some feedback to this – do you have something similar in your company?