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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 04-Oct-2018
Posted by: Angela HENGSBERGER

10 Benefits that bring employee innovations


Why wander into the distance when the good is so close? This question should be asked about your innovation activity. Many of your employees also want to be part of the future of your company. You should use your creativity and ideas. This blog entry explains what is meant by employee innovation, how you can implement it in your company, and what benefits you and your company have.

Innovative method with history

Innovation by employees is not a new per se. Under the somewhat bulky term "company suggestion", companies have been using the creativity of their own workforce for a long time. Alfred Krupp mentioned this as early as 1872 in the so-called General Regulatory. This paper summarizes the principles of the management and the company organization for Krupp's father, Krupp Gussstahlfabrik (now ThyssenKrupp), founded by Krupp's father Friedrich, in a total of 72 paragraphs. And in the paragraph Numero 13 it says literally:

"Suggestions and suggestions for improvements, such innovations, extensions, ideas about and objections to the appropriateness of the given orders must be gratefully received from all the circles of the staff and conveyed to the procuration by the intermediary of the next supervisor. A rejection of the proposed proposals without a previous examination of the same should not take place, although it is also expected that a refusal would suffice the person concerned, even if he could not be given an exception for all reasons, and would not give him any reason for sensitivity or complaint. The resumption of a proposal, which has already been rejected, under altered actual circumstances or in an improved form, is not only admissible but recommendable. "

Paper Establishment of an innovation culture


The four ways to collect ideas

In short, take the suggestions of your employees seriously. Do not confuse the company proposal with a continuous improvement process. The latter describes a relatively strongly structured idea-finding process that takes place within teams. Both concepts together result in operational ideas management. The method of occupational suggestion may have changed little since the time of Alfred Krupp. The possibilities to tap the creativity of the employees have grown in many ways, and essentially comprise the following forms:

  • Idea box: The classic among the tools for innovation by employees is cost-effective and fast to implement. Simply mount one or more mailboxes, or simple lockable boxes in busy places of your company. Employees can contribute their ideas either anonymously or by name. It is important that you regularly empty the ideas boxes. In this way you signal appreciation against the creativity of the employees.
  • Contest ideas: These have the advantage that you can direct the creativity of your workforce into specific paths. A typical question can be: "How can we reduce our paper consumption in the office by 10 percent within one year?" The letterboxes can also be used here.
  • Virtual platform: With this form, you can dispense with ideas-based mailboxes, and thus include employees who are not, or are not often, present in the company. Host this virtual platform best as a Facebook-only social intranet. Because you can not only collect ideas. Your employees can also discuss and improve the proposals at the same time. Please, however, offer the possibility to submit anonymous proposals.
  • Ideas Workshop: This is the most time-consuming and resource-intensive way to collect ideas from the workforce. Usually, such a workshop consists of three phases: a lecture that informs about what is at stake. This is followed by a discussion on the topic and finally the ideas are gathered in a feedback phase.

For what kind of innovation you can ultimately decide by employees, you definitely benefit from tapping the wealth of ideas for your workforce:

  • Motivation: Employees are very interested in the further development of the company in which they are employed. If they can actively shape the future, the motivation increases enormously. In doing so, make sure that you honor the commitment of your employees - materially, but also by your recognition and appreciation.
  • Communication: Formulating ideas, and possibly also discussing with each other, promotes internal communication. This keeps your different departments in front of a silo. The cohesion within the company is strengthened by innovation by employees and the operating climate is improved. Because by talking, people get together.
  • Efficiency: No runs are to be avoided in any company. During these waiting times (waiting at the printer, a call-back, IT support, et cetera), employees can deal with new ideas or their discussion
  • Cost: Operational suggestion can be realized quickly and economically. Sometimes an e-mail from the management is sufficient for the employees to call for creativity.
  • Affiliation: Joint objectives strengthen the cohesion of a group. Formulate innovations as goals. Let your employees know your company needs creativity to achieve these goals. In this way, innovation is made by employees, a tool that binds your employees more and reduces personnel fluctuation.
  • Discretion: Employee innovation helps you find solutions to problems that you do not want to bother people outside the company. This can have many reasons. Think of it only once, if you are looking for an innovative solution for internal theft at the cloakroom or the handling of parking facilities at the company premises.
  • Experience: The higher the age of an employee, the greater his experience. You can use this with an operational suggestion for your company. Whether an employee is only working for a company for a few years or already belongs to the long-term permanent staff is secondary: the former has know-how from other companies or even industries. The latter knows your company and its past better than hardly anyone else. Both are valuable.
  • Expertise: Your workforce knows your company best. Every employee is at least an expert for his work. As such, he knows what problem could be solved by an innovation. He will tell you more about this if you ask him to do so by means of a company suggestion.
  • Empowerment: Employee innovation can increase their empowerment. If you explain a product, service, process, or even market innovation to a common task, everyone feels responsible for it. Finally, you communicate with the task that you also trust your workforce the solution. A prerequisite for this is a corresponding trust, information and communication culture of your company.
  • Variety: Innovation is the occupation with new. If you entrust your employees with this, they also enable you to break out of the professional routine. They shape the workplace of each individual with the innovation by employees, thus more varied.

Conclusion: Benefit from the advantages of employee innovation 

Open Innovation may have become a very recent concept and also bring many advantages depending on the method used. You should not forget the brainwashing of your own workforce. As you can see, the list of benefits is long. Of course, this way of developing and developing new products for the market is also a problem. You can read about the disadvantages of innovation by employees at this point. Another tip to the end: If you want to install an operational suggestion in your company, consider a powerful title. Because "company suggestion" now sounds so dusty that it could lead to the creativity of your employees.

7 methods for idea generation


Born and raised in Vienna. Since 2012 she has been in charge of Business Development at LEAD Innovation with the functions marketing, sales and communication.

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