Ideas at work

Making entrepreneurs out of one’s employees is the latest strategy for organizations, especially since this seems to be the next logical step. Organizations today have matured and offer these opportunities to the employees, if they believe that the entrepreneurial venture of the employees is worth investing in. The ‘SPARK (Systematic Pooling, Analyzing and Researching Knowledge)’ methodology facilitates organization-wide involvement in innovative idea generation leading to new products and service offerings. The ideas received through SPARK, are processed through a multi stage validation process that establishes the feasibility of the proposed offering. The intranet portal captures ‘ideas’ and gives easy to Patni employees to participate. This activity is supplemented with the business analysis and ‘incubation cell’, which tracks technology updates, changes in governing laws and regulations, competitor offerings, etc. Once an idea is selected, the incubation cell develops the offering with supporting methodologies, tools, white papers and expertise. The solution is test marketed, and a small customer base is built before releasing it to the mainstream market. MTV Network India, has regular ‘CFT (cross functional team)’ sessions where employees from different departments of the organization brainstorm and ideate on topics like cost control, revenue enhancement, etc that can help the business grow. This activity breaks hierarchical barriers and fosters participation from employees from all verticals.

A Bank has laid down an employee value proposition program called “The Flame” which forms the core philosophy of every function within the organization. To keep up with the spirit of the organization, the HR team, look for an entrepreneurial streak in each and every new entrant as well as existing ones.
To encourage innovation and creative solutions, another organization has launched an internal campaign called, ‘Be Curious’. Through these sessions, they have been able to receive a lot of ideas from their employees to further their business prospects. This activity also improves employee morale.

Regional flavor is often born out if the insights drawn from employees. For example, a young executive drew upon her own Gujarati background that helped them create tomato sauce flavor. The marketing executive in question worked with the R&D team to develop the product and then drew up the communication that connected with the consumers, making it a big hit. One should have a culture which encourages employees to be entrepreneurs who not only come up with innovative ideas but also experience the thrill of seeing the company take the idea all the way to the consumer. As part of an initiative to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, the ‘PepsiCo Leadership Academy’ encourages the employees to work on live business projects. The business plans will be then funded and eventually marketed in the next 12 months.

A Life Insurance company has introduced ‘ideas—–‘, a scheme in which every member of the company has an open invitation to influence any aspect of business by giving suggestions and ideas on how to work smarter and better. These suggestions could relate to areas ranging from best management practices to business strategies and how to make the company a better place to work. Empowered ‘ideas Task Force.’ job is to evaluate and shortlist winning ideas and facilitate their implementation, reviews the ideas. Project managers are assigned to every winning idea with the aim of building on the idea and taking it to its natural conclusion.

Another company MI also has unique initiatives in place for empowering employees. It has a separate ‘Innovation’ department in its global headquarter and its regional headquarters with a specific carter to facilitate delivery of a certain number of ideas per year, transferring into a certain addition to the group bottom line. In addition, each of the 400-odd trainees going the MI program each year are required to submit a carefully analyzed idea before the end of the two year training program that is then submitted to the relevant managers for evaluation and the best ideas enter the implementation pipeline.

Designed to inspire all employees at Philips, ‘Think Simplicity’, a unique contest inspire employees to become a ‘Simplicity Brand’ Ambassador. The contest aimed at recognizing all ideas implemented or under execution by employees, which have brought ‘simplicity’ to the workplace.

A ‘Simplicity Day’, an annual single day event is organized where teams are firmed at each location and through a globally designed workshop; each team gets cracking on how they can bring simplicity to the workplace.

There is a lot to learn and one has to begin with listening. However, one has to shun primary assumptions that most of us have about which ideas are important, who’s given the idea, under what circumstances the idea was generated and will the idea work.

Usually, CEOs are considered the prime thought leaders and decision makers in any organization. However the size, the complexity as well as geographical spread of companies today make it impossible for one person to do the job. Thus, it is necessary to give employees the freedom to suggest ideas that can influence the business in a positive way. Philips follows a systematic approach towards this. The idea suggested by the employee is first given the right support by the concerned manager. If it requires funds and resources, the employee is helped to develop the idea as a full fledged case that gets reviewed by the management. And those who’ve implemented ideas successfully have patents registered in their names. Philips also organizes contest /platform to bring to the fore better ideas from employees. Usually, CEOs are considered the prime thought leaders and decision makers in any organization. However the size, the complexity as well as geographical spread of companies today make it impossible for one person to do the job. Thus, it is necessary to give employees the freedom to suggest ideas that can influence the business in a positive way. Philips follows a systematic approach towards this. The idea suggested by the employee is first given the right support by the concerned manager. If it requires funds and resources, the employee is helped to develop the idea as a full fledged case that gets reviewed by the management. And those who’ve implemented ideas successfully have patents registered in their names. Philips also organizes contest /platform to bring to the fore better ideas from employees.

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  • Mohammed.Rafi

    It will be a great help to those who have seen through it clearly.

    Nice…

  • Beemarajan S K

    good