Nurture a Culture of Innovation and Improvement with Employee Ideas

Will Read, is the CEO and Founder of Sideways 6, the platform designed to help organizations drive idea generation, accelerate business improvements and efficiencies. Here in this interview, he shares the lessons Sideways 6 has learnt from working with FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies to help them crowd source ideas from across their businesses and it is working. To date there have been over 650,000 employees engaged in Sideways 6-powered employee idea campaigns, across 40 countries. One flagship idea at Centrica is projected to reduce costs by £3.4m over the next five years.

Innovation is the buzzword of the decade in the world of business and agreed to be fundamentally important for a business’s future growth and survival. As this is such a generalized term, for the purpose of this blog we are focusing specifically on a decentralized approach to innovation, centered around engaging with frontline workers’ ideas as part of your company’s change initiatives. If you are successful in engaging with your employees ideas, your business can benefit from increased business efficiencies, revenue capabilities and can successfully build an internal culture of continuous improvement and innovation.However more often than not, the schemes used to pull and collect employee ideas, fall into the trap of overpromising and under-delivering on the projected business results, employee participation can be lower than expected and ideas may be collected and then not implemented by the organisation’s leadership team.

Read on to discover what the fundamental components of an employee idea scheme are, to foster a culture of innovation and improvement in your organisation.

Let’s start by defining some terms. What does it actually mean in practice to build a culture of innovation and improvement?

Will Read: It comes down to understanding the value that comes from listening to all of your employees. There are so many companies out there that say their employees are their biggest assets. If that is true, then employees should be given more authority and be actively encouraged to put forward their ideas for the improvements that can be made throughout the business, from harnessing their everyday experiences at work. It doesn’t make sense to have such a large workforce in your organisation and yet it is only a handful of people with relative resources and advisors making the decisions.

After all, employees are more likely to become more engaged and put forward more and improved ideas when they see their ideas being implemented and when they can see that they are able to influence company decisions.

One of Sideway 6’s customers British Gas, adopted an employee ideas programme which rather than collecting employee ideas over a couple of weeks, has been running as an ‘always on’ employee idea campaign over these last few months. Employees were constantly reminded to look out for improvements to problems that they encounter in their everyday work and this approach to British Gas’s employee idea programme was key to the continued success of the campaign.

In fact in 10 Month’s British Gas’s employee idea campaigns with Sideways 6 have generated:

1,600 Ideas Generated
52,209 Interactions
£3.4 M over next 5 years in savings with a flagship idea

Interested in finding out what kinds of ideas are being crowd sourced by the world’s biggest brands?

Check out our Complete Guide to Employee Ideas.

What are the common pitfalls that are experienced when building this type of culture?

Will Read: Often employee idea schemes will be run as a standalone system, which will require employee to use yet another new app and this may negatively affect employee participation rates. This is where Sideways 6 differentiates itself in helping our customers leverage their existing enterprise social networks, to run an accessible campaign for increased engagement and success. Rather than employees coming to the ideas programme, the ideas programme comes to them.

Employee participation and the incentive to want to put forward ideas, can also be affected if ideas are asked for and then not subsequently implemented. Employees want to be taken seriously and to be thought of as part of critical business decisions. This is why Sideways 6 offers an intuitive and efficient idea management back end, which closes the feedback loop to engage with employees throughout the idea generation and implementation process.

If you would like to learn more about how the Sideways 6 platform can help your organisation drive idea generation, Click Here for a Free Demo.

What are the opportunities for businesses that focus on good ideation to help foster a good innovation culture?

Will Read: Here at Sideways 6 we have seen how successfully innovation can be implemented by decentralizing the approach to it. Without decentralizing the approach, you are missing out on the benefit of opening up your programmes to be sufficiently valuated by your workforce and to generate cost savings and revenue. The opportunity is social and it is key to get your employees talking in ways that will benefit the business. We have seen working with our customers, how willing their employees are to be social and to be actively involved in putting forward their ideas for the future of their businesses. If employees weren’t provided this platform to have their voice heard, there is a risk that these conversations could turn negative about their opinion and experience of the business. After all the millennial generation, expect at work to have their voice heard and don’t expect to be silent.

Although there is no silver bullet or single way to build a culture of innovation and improvement, how is Sideways 6 best placed to uncover strategies that work for building this culture of innovation and improvement?

Will Read: It is a standard fact that changing culture is difficult and one thing that Sideways 6 does well is reduce and simplify this culture change through our experience working with FTSE 250 and 500 companies. This is why we work with companies to leverage their existing enterprise social network, rather than an additional app. Here at Sideways 6, we offer a more efficient and streamlined process through our platform, which helps companies have all of their employees participate at scale because we offer a more open and easier way for employees to engage.

To find out more on how Sideways 6 can help you harness the collective wisdom of your front line employees, Click Here: