How can you Champion Innovation in the Workplace?

HR Nugget – April 2014

Every month we will send you a useful nugget of information that takes only two – three minutes to read. At the bottom of this page, you can share this subscription with others or unsubscribe yourself. We hope you enjoy our HR Nuggets and find them useful.

How can you Champion Innovation in the Workplace?

Give the gift of time:

Time is what we never seem to have enough of, but we could do worse that to give staff back this precious commodity.  If we are always racing to get things done, we are not going to be able to hear ourselves think and then we miss those golden nuggets that can come to us when we are not expecting them.  Google have given their employees up to 20% of work time to come up with these innovative ideas, which reportedly led to Gmail.  Other companies offer employees up to two weeks off to pursue projects outside of their normal work responsibilities.

Lose the clean desk policy:

Create the environment to get those creative juices flowing.  Google leads the way in this by creating creativity rooms/space and by setting aside that clean desk policy.  A recent study last year at the University of Minnesota, found an independent panel,  judged ideas derived from peoples cluttered workstations more “interesting and worthy of development” than those that came about then people had been grouped together in an empty room to brainstorm.

 Get close to customers:

Listen to what your customers are saying. Customers are paying for a service and often tell you what they like and don’t like.  Be open to listening to your customers and capture the ideas that come along.  Smart supermarkets made a note of what customers requested so that they could capture potential trends and so were ahead of their competitors. Harley Davidson cite an example of where they listened to what the customers wanted and implemented the ideas saving up to three years on the design of the bikes and sales rose by 15.5%.

 Make Innovation pay:

Innovations hates structure, but HR can help it by embedding and communicating reward and recognition programmes to encourage bright ideas. There are lots of examples for schemes that work and encourage innovation. Not all ideas put forward will be profitable for the company; however reward those employees where their ideas are used.

The very best HR programmes will encourage innovative ideas from staff, by offering them a profit share on those implemented. Don’t miss out on opportunities to hear what your staff has to say….we can often miss those new bright ideas.

Capture the best ideas:

The company website is a great place to allow staff to post ideas, comment on ideas and make suggestions. Another way is to see how things are at the coalface, and mix with employees and often great ideas come out of this.

Source; People Management February 2014