Companies told to honour innovative ideas of employees

`Workable ideas can also come from customers and they come at no cost to the company except for some patient listening.'

Special Correspondent

Isaac Getz

Isaac Getz  

Bangalore: Eighty per cent of all innovative ideas in most growing corporates come from employees who are not specially paid to come up with such ideas and only 20 per cent come from research and development wings or market research teams, says Isaac Getz of the European School of Management, Paris.

These are not just statistics but the experience of a French-Italian technology firm, STMicroelectronics, which was able to generate 10 to 20 innovative ideas per employee, he says.

The result was a cost saving of $ 4,000 per employee for this firm with thousands of staff.

Speaking after participating in a chief executive officers' forum on "Managing employee ideas for performance" organised by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) here last weekend, Prof. Getz expressed against the "suggestion box" practice in many companies.

"It is the most destructing mechanism." Because, hardly any input gets taken seriously or implemented, he says.

"In each business unit within a company there should be a simple method by which an employee can go with is or her idea to the immediate supervisor who in turn should be able to take it to the top management, and if found practical, have the idea implemented. The biggest recognition for an idea that works is not only a big thank you but in actually implementing it,'' he says.

A management system that trains managers to stimulate their teams to come up with ideas and actually "manage the ideas" by implementing them is what works the best. Managers can also be rewarded based on the success rate of implementation of ideas generated by their teams, Prof. Getz says.

Workable ideas can also come from customers and they come at no cost to the company except for some patient listening, Prof. Getz says.

"This concept is similar to how a new media can benefit from reader or viewer feedback to design its content and improve the bottom-line,'' Prof. Getz says.

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