Wednesday, October 31, 2007

IBM on Innovation and Idea Management Systems

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper's "Innovator" blog quotes IBM's chief executive Sam Palmisano as saying "either you innovate or you're in commodity hell". Citing the example of IBM, the blog post argues that organizations need to:
  1. Maintain a constant flow of 'everyday' ideas - not just the radical, breakthrough ideas
  2. Develop the right innovation culture
  3. Build an innovation ecosystem - kill the silos and review the Organizational Architecture through which ideas are processed
  4. Improve processes - "Look for places where ideas tend to fall flat. Are there consistent gaps and bottlenecks in implementation?"
  5. Engage employees and build on their strengths
  6. Develop the right incentive and recognition scheme
  7. Re-invent the suggestions box and put it online.
On this last point, the post suggests:

Create an online ideas/suggestions box that can be accessed by all staff. Don't restrict content to products or services; encourage employees to contribute ideas for all aspects of work. IBM and Google both do this. They say it encourages staff to collaborate in areas outside their usual line of work.
It's important that the status of each idea is clear and up to date. Nothing frustrates employees like ideas that are abandoned with no explanation, or lost somewhere in the chain of command.

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