One of the key questions which anyone needs to answer in the innovation space is the ROI question – no matter who I talk to, no matter how key people feel innovation is to their companies’ future, the ROI question still lingers. Far too many folks still think that innovation, an innovation team, lab or program, is a nice to have which can easily be cut in hard times. Like the hard times we seem to be going into right now.

We specialize in developing crowdsourced, enterprise wide innovation programs. These programs allow your employees, no matter where they are in the organization, to be able to submit ideas, review ideas and rate other ideas. If you have never ran an enterprise wide program, you should see a great initial flood of ideas, pent up for months and even years, for a lack of an outlet for your people to present them properly. After this initial rush, we continue to run challenges and events in order to keep your innovation pipeline full of brand new, engaging, interesting ideas.

What can go wrong with that? Plenty, as managers and CFOs everywhere think: we don’t have the time and money for this – our people need to be focused on their jobs – on operations – on sales – on growth. Focus on growth, not new thinking, not new ideas.

One of the most interesting and productive tactics that we use when we run invention sessions is called a “noun swap”. It’s where we take a normal statement, sometimes of an existing product or service, and change out the nouns. For example, “the internet customized to you” could be your current Google News feed, where “you, customized to the internet” is Facebook. Let’s take that tactic and switch out some nouns in the above paragraph.

We specialize in developing crowdsourced, enterprise wide problem solving programs. These programs allow your employees, no matter where they are in the organization, to be able to submit solutions, review solutions and rate other solutions. If you have never ran an enterprise wide program, you should see a great initial flood of solutions, pent up for months and even years, for a lack of an outlet for your people to present them properly. After this initial rush, we continue to run challenges and events in order to keep your problem solving pipeline full of brand new, engaging, interesting solutions.

See what I did there? Sure it’s pretty basic, but the reality is that when you involve most of your employees in creating solutions for your most pressing issues, they figure it out.

There’s no need to bring in that massively huge and very expensive consulting firm to look for ways to gut your organization and make it right. All you need to do is ask your people, who are not only right there and waiting to be asked, they have a vested interest in the success of the company. Plus they cost a lot less to ask.

There is your ROI right there: helpful, engaged employees, solving your problem. If you need growth – tell them you need growth, and ways to grow will appear. If you need to cut costs, tell them that, and ways to cut costs will appear. The answers are all around you, you just need to ask.

Chris Kalaboukis
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Chris Kalaboukis

CEO / Co-Founder at hellofuture
Chris is a prolific inventor (60+ patents), exceptional innovator (headed internal banking, retail and technology innovation programs), experienced technologist, serial entrepreneur and futurist.
Chris Kalaboukis
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