172: Sometimes You Have To Innovate, Rinse, Repeat

In many cases, you won’t get the best ideas first time around, if you have had a number of failed innovation programs in the past.

You might need to innovate, rinse, repeat.

Raw Transcript

Good morning everyone and welcome to think future podcast I’m your host Chris Kalaboukis And once again we’re coming to you live from deep in the heart of Silicon Valley California show number 172.  And today I had an interesting call which reminded me of something that.  I.  Needed to say which is why I’m making this episode about.  Repeat.  You know the typical shampoo instruction? Lather, rinse, repeat, lather, rinse, repeat.  Well, the same typically goes for innovation program of because a lot of times.  And I’ve noticed this a lot of times when I go into new client situations is that.  The customer has already run innovation programs in the past.  And for some reason, these programs have not worked.  And.  As I’ve mentioned before many times on my blog and on this show one of the main reasons why these programs don’t work is because inventors feel like their ideas of falling into a black hole and.  The communication hasn’t really been there is that what happens the ideas of the ideas kind of disappear and they go out yeah here’s another program here’s another program and people are going to ask us for ideas or submit our ideas and then they’re going to go nowhere again so here’s another way that we’re always coming we’re typically coming into an environment an environment where people are jaded people are tired.  People have been told over and over again that their contributions are valuable.  But then their contributions nothing happens with their contributions or their.  No communication on the contributions and they stop contributing.  So what I found is that most of the time when we go into a situation where there have already been multiple innovation programs in the past that have not done well.  That typically we do not get the best ideas.  The first time we do this.  Because typically when we go into these situations as I mentioned before many people are jaded employees are not a gauged they’re seeing at and there are many to really comparing it against what has happened before and are going well great yet another program where they’re going to take our ideas and they’re going to do nothing with them.  That’s why I found that the first program is sometimes a gimme.  It’s sometimes a gimme because it depends on depending on the situation depending on your organization depending on where your culture is that where employees are at right now they could be primed and ready to give you great ideas they could be primed and ready to give you billion dollar Di Dio’s right now all you need to do is ask.  Or they may be jaded after years in years of other programs that have failed to give them that safe space and that feedback in order to capture those ideas and if that’s the case then you can have a jaded employee population and you’re going to have a tough time getting the best out of people you may not even get a very high turnout.  But don’t be discouraged see this is the thing if you go into an organization where this has been done before.  And you’ve had negative feedback on prior programs then naturally your employees are going to be wary.  They’re going to feel jaded they’re going to go well you know what maybe I’ll throw an idea but it won’t be my best idea into the system.  You’ll have others who will throw ideas into the system.  That’s why it’s key it’s absolutely key that the very first time you run this program is not the only time you run this program you have to have a plan to run the program multiple times or continuously over a period of time until you get that buy-in from your inventors so as I said there are some companies where this may not have been run before in the same way and your people are itching to release new ideas I’ve had those situations where you come into an organization where nothing like this is ever been done and then as soon as you have a program whether it’s looking at current ideas panel ideas or future forward thinking ideas there is this Dale HUGE of ideas because they’ve kept these ideas pent up within themselves and they just needed a place to let them out, in that case, you will get huge numbers right away you will get great ideas right away you may even get that billion dollar idea in the first wave.  But if your organization has done this before.  And you have a set of individuals within your organization who feel jaded who feel like they’ve been or were never listened to before that it’s never gone well before.  Then you must plan for multiple rounds and multiple programs because in your first round you’re going to get the individuals who are gung ho and have great ideas and maybe a few from people who are a bit jaded But they going to throw something in to see if it flies it won’t be their best I.  Because if they are serial innovators they probably have all sorts of interesting ideas and they’re pick one of their lesser ideas and throw it in to see what happens.  In this program.  Will be a success because you will talk back to your innovators you will provide them with a safe space for their ideas you will communicate to them and tell them what happens to their idea you will take some of the ideas and put them through the review process and turn them into something and you will trumpet this success throughout the organization when your employees see this happening when they see other innovators with their ideas being.  Presented on a stage with others innovators of the quarter innovators of the year innovators of the month.  When they see recognition and rewards for others.  Then they will turn around and say what you know what maybe this time this program is actually real Maybe this time this program is something I might want to contribute into it into maybe this time they mean it.  This is why you can’t just do it once you need to do it continuously or repeatedly let’s say you had a focused program a hackathon style program or a single program over the course of a month three or four months later quarter from that after you have shown evidence to your inventors that something is actually going to happen to their ideas after this evidence and recognition has been out there amongst your employees then your you will have a second wave of ideas which may be better than the first because.  Now they know.  That they’re being communicated to properly now they can see with their own eyes the evidence that people who submit great ideas are going to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.  The second time around you may get much much better ideas than the first time around because all those people who are holding their ideas back waiting to see what will happen will finally step up and reveal their ideas so you may not need you may need to do this more than once or continuously in order to get the best stuff out of your employees and maybe that golden billion dollar idea will come in the second or third round once your employees trust you again trust that you will listen to them provide them with a safe space review things fairly and for the best ideas turn them into something real whether it’s a product or a patent.  That’s it for me for today C N X time and until then don’t forget to thinkfuture.