Getting Employees Motivated To Provide Innovative Solutions

Businesses routinely look outside of their organization for the answers to their most exigent concerns. Foremost among these ‘outsiders’ are business consultants who are tasked with evaluating the best-practice methodology, strategy, and systems for boosting business productivity, efficiency, and sustainability. The professionalism and expertise of consultants is one thing, but the truth of the matter is that many of the solutions that management and leadership seek are hiding in plain sight.

Employees are the #1 greatest resource in an organization. Their insight, understanding, and investment in the business’s success spans far and wide. A consultant, talented though the person may be, is not strategically invested in the viability of a company’s operations. They are called in to examine a problem, dilemma, or challenge, and to provide a framework for success. However, it’s the employees, managers, leaders and other stakeholders who work with the system, amend the system, and rely on the system to work for them.

The Employee Innovation Movement

It is against this backdrop that businesses are increasingly turning towards their employees for the answers. There will be challenges in this regard, notably how to get employees invested in participating and providing feedback necessary for business success. One of the core topics currently gaining traction on a worldwide basis is that of employee innovation management. This function is the culmination of years of intensive study, and efficacious management of this process can certainly pay dividends.

The challenge lies in how to foster a culture of internal innovation. Traditional systems typically result in an aversion to participation in innovation management. Employees may feel a combination of emotions, including fear, anxiety, aversion, etcetera in an autocratic, hierarchical system. The goal therefore is to foment a culture of interaction, innovation, participation, and collaboration. This process requires a restructuring of company culture to be more inclusive of employees and to eliminate the underlying ‘tensions’ which may exist in hierarchical systems.

Driving Innovation From Within

Innovation management is predicated on the dismantling of organizational silos, and this is done through systematized digital transformation strategies. The individuals who work in a department, division, or organization have first-hand knowledge of the systems and processes that are in place. By managing this resource effectively, through engagement and feedback, it is entirely possible to harness the collective intelligence of the workforce. Successful innovation is impossible with a top-down bureaucratic system.

The objective is to inculcate a culture of interaction where ideas can be shared and innovation can be engendered. To facilitate such change, an innovation culture must come into existence. The entire ecosystem of a company depends upon innovative thought leaders being able to share their ideas with company higher-ups. Reports by McKinsey & Co indicate that senior executives overwhelmingly agree that culturally inclusive organizations are more likely to be innovative. This makes sense, given that those who work within the company are those who are most invested in its long-term success.

Innovation Management Can Achieve Goals

From inception to delivery, companies are increasingly dependent on innovation management. Whenever new products or services are being tested and developed, it’s important to create a design thinking framework where collective ideation can come into play. There are also disruptive innovation strategies which can be employed such as brainstorming among employees, management, and other stakeholders to conjure up the most effective and exciting ways to bring new products and services, technologies, or systems into play.

Yet another popular technique used in the innovation management arena is incremental innovation. This is the most beneficial way since it ensures a long-term pathway to success with embedded innovation management systems in an organization. Today, many global companies have turned to innovation management as their solution to many challenges. These include Ford, Fannie Mae, Teva, Lufthansa, and Philip Morris International among others. Most every company routinely touts its employees as its most valuable resource, but only through innovation management can companies truly harness that resource for maximum benefit.

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