3 Easy Steps to Enhancing Employee Innovation

Employee innovation

3 Easy Steps to Enhancing Employee Innovation

Increasing employee innovation is easy! Just ask them for their ideas and implement the most cost effective options. The best and most effective way to do this is the World Café approach.

I have just returned from facilitating a 2-day World Café event for a global travel retailer in Milan. It was a fantastic experience. Hundreds of innovative ideas were generated and I know that the agreed actions (if implemented) will increase sales, decrease costs and increase profits. And the best bit – the implementation cost of the best ideas is zero!

The World Café is a process that harnesses the collective thinking of a group of diverse people on key organisational questions. There are 7 World Café principles but in my experience 3 of them are critical:

  1. Identify the questions that matter. It is worth spending time up front thinking about the right questions to ask. Limit these to the 4 or 5 questions that will move the strategic agenda forward. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult strategic questions.  It’s amazing how well informed people working on the front-line are about the strategic agenda
  2. Invite the right people. The greater the diversity in terms of experience, levels of responsibility, functional expertise as well as skills and competence the better. Invite people who have an opinion and are prepared to challenge the status quo. Often those that are considered ‘awkward’ have the best ideas.
  3. Follow up on implementation. Not implementing the ideas generated is a disaster! Your credibility with participants will plummet and you won’t be able to ask them for their ideas again.

So, get the coffee out, pull up the chairs, ask the right questions, and get talking. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to innovate.

Richard McCarthy

Richard joined OMT in 1998 and is head of Consultancy Services following a 14 year international career in project management, financial control and various management development roles. Richard specialises in working with Senior and Middle Management, focusing on critical Organisational Development Initiatives such as Strategy Development & Implementation, Change Management, and the roll-out of extensive Management & Leadership Development Programmes and One to One Executive Coaching. His previous work across Europe and Africa has helped him understand the impact of organisational culture, and change on managers’ ability to deliver successful results. Richard enjoys the challenge he gets from his work, especially working with clients who face difficult strategic choices or need to develop new skills & behaviours. Richard believes the rewards are satisfying when you know you have made a meaningful contribution.

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