October 31, 2008

Growth is all about new ideas and their execution. Smart organizations know this fact and do everything within their control to make their organization an ocean of ideas. And their secret weapon to unleash the power of ideas is to convert their people into idea machines who endlessly churn out ideas, help in separating the grain from the husk, and then polish them.

Sadly, a majority of organizations never understand the importance of their people to provide a continuous stream of ideas, some of them potentially great ideas. They rely on a few brains for new ideas when they can use their entire workforce to come up with ideas. But ideas by nature are serendipitous. You never know in whose mind the best of ideas would originate. The more the number of brains at work, higher the probability to get better ideas.

Here are a few suggestions for organizations to involve their people in idea generation and idea management.
  1. Put a senior leader who is passionate about creativity, ideas, out-of-the-box thinking in overall charge of idea management within the organization. Let her be a filter to evaluate all ideas.
  2. Put an easy to use system in place where people can freely and comfortably share ideas relevant to organization. An idea discussion forum on the Intranet can be effectively used for this purpose.
  3. Encourage people to share ideas.
  4. Encourage people to comment on others ideas on the idea discussion forum. Let an idea to be refined and polished through inputs and critical evaluation of the peers.
  5. Openly reward people who come up with maximum ideas every month.
  6. Focus on quantity of ideas rather than quality. Key to generation of great ideas is to embrace stupidity. You never know when an outlandish idea can give birth to a billion dollar idea.
  7. If an idea turns out to be commercially or non-commercially beneficial, share the credits with the originator of that idea. Make them heroes.
  8. Continuously communication the importance of ideas to all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Maintain a continuous flow of creative juices by sustaining the excitement associated with idea generation.