Whatever your business does or sells, every part of your operation can be improved in some way. There are probably more efficient, more effective ways to do everyday tasks, to improve productivity, to reduce wastage.
But where do you start?
Successful businesses use suggestion schemes tap into the experience, skills and expertise of your employees. Your employees are at the sharp end, so they are ideally placed to suggest new ideas, assess them, develop them, and then help implement them.
All you need to do is ask.
The 21st century suggestion box
Suggestion schemes do not have the best of reputations. Too often a scheme is launched with enthusiasm, only to become a black hole for employee suggestions that are never acknowledged or acted upon.
Instead, your business can manage the flow of ideas from submission to implementation with an innovation management app. (Or an idea management app, we really don’t mind what you call it!) Here’s how in five straightforward stages.
The five stages of successful suggestion schemes
(Yes, that is a bit of a mouthful, we agree!)
Stage 1: Challenge your employees
Start by empowering your employees to address the real challenges your business faces now and in the future. Make those challenges:
With an ideas management app, each Challenge has its own virtual space. You can open the Challenge up to all, or to a selected group with specialist skills or knowledge.
Stage 2: Collating and managing ideas
This is the point where some suggestion schemes fall down flat. The ideas pour in, the person responsible is swamped, and great ideas get lost in the process.
Not with an ideas management app. Employees can send in their suggestions direct from any device, anywhere, and most importantly, any time. Inspiration doesn’t always strike between 9am and 5pm!
Stage 3: Rating, reviewing and feedback
An app takes the pain out of ideas management by enabling employees to read, review and rate ideas submitted by their peers. Even with just a simple 1-5 star rating system, quality ideas will naturally rise to the top.
Each Challenge manager can easily assess what ideas merit more investigation in terms of scoping, costing and planning. They can also see who has been active in driving the ideas, making it easier to put together an enthusiastic team to take the idea to the next stage
Stage 4: Help ideas take flight
Many idea management apps stop just when you need help most - taking the top ideas through planning to implementation. That’s where a fully-fledged innovation management process comes into its own, so your business can:
- Create specific groups to take the idea forward
- Enable co-creation and cooperation between employees
- Build a virtual ‘paper trail’ of activity to avoid duplication of effort
- Access reliable, accurate costings and reporting
Stage 5: A smooth path to implementation
With an integrated innovation management app such as Talkfreely, ideas glide smoothly from one stage to another, with no loss of data, connections or enthusiasm. Transparency is a crucial part of the system, allowing those first involved to track the idea’s progress throughout its life cycle, and the comms features ensures everyone is up to date and in the loop.
Enthusiastic about change
By the time an idea is ready to be implemented, it has built up considerable momentum and support along its entire lifespan. It has been talked about, discussed, viewed, rated, and will have its own champions as a result. You’ll find employees will want to celebrate the realisation of ‘their’ idea too!
Ditch the suggestion box!
Feel it’s time to upgrade your suggestion scheme to something that works for your business and your employees?