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Innovating Innovation

With the Innovating Innovation challenge we’re looking for your stories and hacks on how to make innovation a real capability in organizations.  With the Quick MIX, we gave you an easy way to engage and inspire others on a related question: what is the one thing you’d change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Like the M-Prize, this process was open to everyone.  The best contributions are being recognized on our blog, on HBR.org, and in the social media channels of the MIX, Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company.

What is the one thing you'd change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Submitted Ideas

Re-shore manufacturing with our advanced VizPlanet/VizPlant platform, with a “global reach & yet with a local presence”!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on December 1, 2012
With so much rhetoric being thrown these days, to onshore manufacturing, we suggest an advanced, win: win value proposition, to re-shore it, with a “global reach & yet with a local presence”, using our VizPlanet/VizPlant platform, that is designed, by combining physical devices with digital telemetry, to enable certain repetitive functions, to be remotely operated by global resources (without off-shoring the full plant), saving substantial non strategic cost. Plz read my VizPlanet hack for more.

Foster and open information culture

Idea by Gerhard Goldbeck on November 20, 2012
Open data and open access are revolutionising the way we think about things and as a consequence innovate. Organisations need to embrace this culture, make it their own, and actively look for ways that enable everyone in the organisation to make use of these vast resources.

Constructive Criticisim

Idea by Basma Al Nabulsi on November 20, 2012
If organizations stop dealing with criticisms in a defensive manner, they make room for constructive contribution to their work plans. Be it a private sector company or a government institution, engaging people through social media produces new content instead of one-way channel communication. Invest in Social Media.

End the creative apartheid now!

Idea by Michele Zanini on November 20, 2012
For the most part, innovation is still relegated to organizational ghettos--it is still the responsibility of dedicated units like new product development and R&D, where creative types are kept safely out of the way of those who have to "run the business." In a world where innovation is more essential than ever, this sort of chauvinism is wrongheaded. If folks don't appear to be creative at work, it's not because they lack imagination--it's because they lack the opportunity and support.

The Future of Work is Play

Idea by Ross Smith on November 19, 2012
21st century Organizations must introduce games, play, and fun to spark the next gen creative class. Early civilizations integrated work and play to survive. In the Industrial era, work and play were separated and the world of work changed – from mechanization and Taylorism to the time clock. With the rise of creative work and the push for innovation in this new millenium, it’s now time to reintroduce play, games, and fun in to the workplace. The future of work is play.

Synthetic thinking

Idea by Alfredo Bregni on November 20, 2012
http://www.ybnd.eu/docs/Five_thinkings.pdf http://www.ybnd.eu/docs/CM_wks.pdf

Induce disruption

Idea by Randym Jones on November 28, 2012
Deliberately inducing disruption -- to roles, business models, "common sense" -- is the best way to make your organization more innovation-friendly. By doing so, you jolt your business culture out of the local minimums it tends to fall into. The downside is that doing so creates an unrecoverable cost to the smooth flow of the enterprise: thus it's risk vs. reward. Disruption is scaleless, so it works at all levels. This idea actually underlies many of the other suggestions on this list. Do it!

Encourage people to work using IT tools they like to use

Idea by Frank Calberg on November 20, 2012
When people are encouraged to use their own devices to work, for example their own smartphones, laptops, tablets etc., as well as media of their own choice, for example various kinds of social media / crowdsourcing technologies, I imagine that people will feel more empowered and motivated – and that innovative thinking / behaviour will be strengthened.

Sheep Dipping

Idea by john macdonald on November 21, 2012
Ask the customer's customers to describe the best possible day they could have in terms of being successful and achieving their goals. Obtain a summary statement that holistically captures this. Then in 30 mins segments get them to describe how the day unfolds. Then share this with a team consisting of all parties in the value stream that exists to create this "perfect day". The trick is to let them think what it is like for the customer's customer.

Shut The Email Server Off For 24 Hours

Idea by Aaron Anderson on November 21, 2012
I heard this from one of my guest speakers I had visit my course this semester. What if we turned off the work related email servers for just one day (as long as it wasn't dangerously life threatening). The distraction of people running their to-do list off their email inbox could be averted. Even better, if it coincided with a one day invention centric day at work - where everyone was require to invent a solution to a long standing problem.

Parallel: A MMORPG designed for accelerating innovation

Idea by Benjamin Forestier on November 20, 2012
World of Warcraft have reached recently 12 millions users. Imagine that you'd have all this people working or should I say gaming to create and imagine innovative ideas ? People playing MMORPG are usally creative, passionate and skilled, good skills to innovate. So why not building a MMORPG occuring in a parallel virtual world in which the gamers could take the ownership of their avatars to create their own quest (innovative ideas). Moreover real project could be backtest in this parallel market

end-user interaction with rapid feedback loop

Idea by K. Kwiatkowski on November 20, 2012
Projects & initiatives should have an end-user readily & clearly identified as well as what apsect of the end-users' needs will be in scope. Then let the interative loop of trial and feedback and trial ... begin - this will encourage more ideas and quicker learning to provide meaningful innovation.

Colorful Thinking & Dialogue Writing for kill " i " Inertia

Idea by S.Alireza Kashizad on November 20, 2012
Psychological Inertia is the main barrier for Innovative action.When " i " think about innovation,I involved with " i " inertia's. Our idea is: Colorful Thinking & Dialogue Writing... how? Dialogue Writing by our cell phones. With SMS we write the own idea and share it with colleagues, Friends and our Family.We make the Networks of ideas for Networks of problems. Problems of our Family,Friends and Organizations. Innovation-friendly is our habit! Because we can overcome to " i " Inertia's.

Open Thinking- Focus and Flexible, Result that matters.

Idea by Omar MA on November 20, 2012
Creation of platforms that spark creativity. Fresh ideas that lead to innovations do not come on a fixed time (9 to 5). Technology runs 24/7, so as innovations. Focus on objectives, open whilst planning, flexible on implementation. The end result shall be amazing.

Employee ownership

Idea by Adnan Siddiqui on November 21, 2012
Let the employees take full credit of their ideas. Make sure that they get the limelight as well as returns from there idea and its implementation. Don't be greedy as an organization and in time you will have a culture of innovation and enough working ideas for a life time.

Jack and the Innovation Beanstalk

Idea by Alan Gard on November 30, 2012
It's a familiar story: Jack has some lowly regarded beans. After they get thrown to the soil they are revealed as magic beans. To drive innovation, get the organization believing they EACH are Jack with magic beans. This requires leadership's repetitive messaging. Then create an innovation farm, the place where everyone knows they can plant their magic beans, removing the barrier of "I don't know where to go with this idea." Nurtured well these seeds will produce an innovation harvest.

Protect innovation(r) s from their premature departure, with a “nothing is non discussable” type, face saving platform!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on December 5, 2012
Most innovation(r)s get canned prematurely, by sugar coated euphemistic arguments (no ROIC/g, not our way, been there done it, doesn’t work, light yrs ahead etc), but, when we peel its surface, it all comes down to 3 causal groups: cannibalistic fear, protect turf, job security.So,we suggest a “nothing is non discussable” type platform, where, anyone can voice true root causes proactively (& confidentially), with a face saving assurance that it’ll be dealt by leadership, with a win:win mindset!

Give everyone a "smart failures" quota on their goal setting

Idea by Mario Morales, CEO Innovare on November 20, 2012
One key driver to create an innovation-friendly company is have people lose their fear of failure. We have done this by providing 3 "permission to fail" cards to each employee per year. This means that if someone "fails" by trying new innovative things during the year, they can use the card as a safety net to avoid any punishment or negative consequences on their performance appraisal, bonuses, etc. For a card to be accepted, the "failure" should not be a negligence.

Time to Talk

Idea by Donald STAVERT on November 21, 2012
Easiest way to get more innovation in organisations is to give the people who work in the organisation time to discuss ideas that would benefit the organisation . Put a bunch of workers in a room with a blank sheet of paper and ask for ideas and you will get dozens. The biggest challenge for the organisation will be responding properly to the suggestions

Make it a process that can be excecuted in any device including smartphones

Idea by Armando Flores on November 20, 2012
Implement our process execution engine that does not need a big expensive BPM, but instead runs on a database, even in smartphone. It is cheap (20K), can run infinite threads of process and you can produce process in hours and include many. Makes it easy to prototype your innovation until you get it right. To program a process you go to a cloud based process programer, call the file, make changes and 'save as' the new process name. The next process will execute with the changes made.

People Mindset

Idea by Olumide Akintunde on November 20, 2012
Since innovations are made by people, people are as well needed to make these innovations work i.e. become business solutions. Aggressive campaigns should be carried out in-house just before an innovation is made. Employees, customers and suppliers should be made to understand that innovations are key to the mission and vision of the organisation. Sooner or later, employees, customers and suppliers would be acquainted with the importance of innovations as a means of increasing growth.

Drive by Crowd-Sourcing

Idea by Todd Noebel on November 20, 2012
Have electronic whiteboards throughout office/facility. ANY individual can post an idea/concept and it appears on other whiteboards for people to add their input. Capture these centrally and encourage teams around the ideas to build out the concepts. Primary rule - no negative comments. But do allow for, "if not X, than Y" alternatives with an underlying theme of "How do we make this true/come into being?".

Moving the needle in the less sexy workplace

Idea by P T Navendra on November 22, 2012
It's easy for a group of innovators to discuss innovation. Lets look at the "average" organization. Yes, the ones falling in the lower tiers of the sexiest place to work list, the ones that don't get to employ the cream of the resource pool, the green fields of innovation opportunity, if you will. We should be able to interconnect our champions here with innovation drivers like the MIX to help set up internal innovation programs. We need to create an awareness for the want of this social help.

Deploy Social Media Tools To Flatten Your Organization & Put Everyone's Opinion on Par w/ the CEO

Idea by Aaron Anderson on November 21, 2012
These days, there are a number of great social media tools that can boost communication and collaborative spaces in both real time & asynchronously. We have been using the Chatter function in our Salesforce CRM application for a while, but have migrated to Yammer as it is unhooked from the database as a more pure communication tool. Getting everyone in the org on board and using it puts every comment & post at par with even the highest member of the operation.

Stick Up

Idea by Ian Sherman on November 22, 2012
Start a white board in a common area that is accessible to everyone. Give everyone a stack of funky coloured sticky notes (from the junior associate to the CEO). Anonymous or not, allow everyone to; 'stick-up' an original idea (topical like customer service, or not), or stick-up a connecting or improving caveat to another posted idea. Provide white board markers to promote drawing connections between them at any time. Discuss the ideas that stand out at your next formal brainstorm.

Making Big Turn Small

Idea by Eric Curtis on November 20, 2012
Organizations are too big, so we need to figure out a way to make big...small. Change can happen faster, poses less risk, and can be tested more effective in smaller size departments, groups, and teams. To make this happen we can apply principals found in the rule of 150. By keeping groups of employees below the tipping point of 150 we can be far more innovative and still be able to utilize effective team management at the same time apply change management in adopting the new innovations.

Adapting offices to think and work differently ( we behave

Idea by Jean-Pierre RENIER on November 26, 2012
Offices are quite often standard in terms of furniture, wall, table, chair..... An easy way to create different work environments is to use the space by changing the traditional codes: create an innovation room without table but with some unusual appliance, set-up white walls to be used by people for drawing their ideas anywhere in the office, display the employee' picture at the age of 4/5 years old including in what kind of job they project themselves.....

Create an environment that doesn't kill ideas with red cards and yellow cards

Idea by Mario Morales, CEO Innovare on November 20, 2012
Most organisations have a culture that kills new ideas and are not idea-friendly. We have invented something to avoid this, inspired by the red and yellow cards from soccer. If someone is caught making a negative comment about an idea on an ideation session or informal meeting, his peers can show him a yellow card, which signals that he is trying to kill an idea. If the same person makes another negative comment he will be shown the red card and must leave the room.

Disciplined Dreaming

Idea by Darwin on November 21, 2012
Create a platform where employees can tell their stories, passions, interests, etc. A social hub to cater the thoughts, the aspirations, and the ideas. From there, we can connect the dots by doing a holistic brainstorming approach, i.e., do what matters most in people, organizations and communities.

Bottom-up Research and Development Program

Idea by Nicholas Van Zant on November 20, 2012
Attendance-optional monthly, weekly, or even daily meetings should be open to anyone and everyone in the company - providing a laid-back, "we're all ears" approach where "no input is bad input." When someone comes up with an idea, they are credited with the idea and they receive some equitable return for their input. On top of this, adoption of a program offering up tools for entrepreneurial training, gathering information and utilizing capabilities- cutting out the bureaucracy and red-tape.

Use a cloud-based wiki to get everyone on the same page

Idea by Aaron Anderson on November 20, 2012
We've been using a wiki for our whole team for about two years now. It puts everyone on the same page at the same time, and allows for asynchronous input as well. The big win is shortened in person meetings & we now have an archive that acts as our institutional memory. We can go back two years and answer the question, "how did we handle this kind of problem before?"