Innovation can come from anyone
In a business, the majority of employee contributed innovation tends to help you do one (or more) of five vital things:
- Make Money
- Save Money
- Solve Problems
- Avoid Trouble
- Motivate People
Ideas are being shared everyday by employees on every level of your organization. It is happening in places like your most basic meeting rooms, over web-based meeting platforms, and in your loftiest executive boardrooms.
Are the best ideas being heard?
These ideas are in constant competition with each other inside your business. All too often, it’s not necessarily the best ideas that get heard and acted on; it’s the best presented ideas – the ones with a clear, compelling message skillfully delivered by a confident messenger. Employees with strong communication skills have always had a massive advantage in getting their ideas approved and implemented, much to the benefit of their careers.
But is that always in the best interest of the business? You have to ask yourself two questions:
- What ideas are getting “lost in presentation”?
- What’s that really costing your organization?
Democratize how ideas are shared
To fully capitalize on the power of employee contributed innovation, you need to democratize how ideas are heard in your organization. Because it is almost impossible to change our innate human tendency to either ignore or discount others with weak presentation skills, to do so you must strengthen the idea sharing capability of your employee population.
You need to develop and put in place a developmental strategy to up level the essential skills that enable your people to successfully message, deliver, and defend their ideas. Ideally, this is a roadmap that takes into account the roles, levels, and experience within your organization versus a “one size fits all” approach.
Everyone wins… Including you and your business
This will help level the playing field and ensure that ideas ultimately live or die based on their value to your organization. Innovation will thrive. Work will get done more effectively, employees will feel more empowered and engaged, and, ultimately, your business results will improve.