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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.

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.

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.

Instead of performance appraisal - a "make mistakes we can learn from" competition

Idea by Marcelo Michelsohn on November 20, 2012
Innovation flourish in an environment of excitement and not fear. Top leaders should announce an organization wide competition for the person, department, project team that can generate more learning from mistakes they make. The learnings should be shared. Top leaders should start the process by sharing their mistakes and learnings with all the organization, at least once a week, so people understand that this is for real. People should be able to comment and vote to choose the best ones.

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.

Give Everyone a Voice

Idea by Dan Bean on November 21, 2012
Organizations create innovation walls. If you’re in an organization, you’re in the club and you have a voice into what it creates. However, if you’re outside the org, you are often separated by the wall of “not created here”. You can shout your voice from afar and sometimes you’re heard. You can ask club members to carry your voice through the wall and sometimes they do. Often there is silence in return. And innovation goes wanting. Give everyone a voice: lower the wall and then really listen…

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

Empower and inspire people to bring the customer into the heart of the innovation process

Idea by Lucas Godfrey on November 20, 2012
Firstly, organizations need to engage the customer in a dialogue throughout the entire innovation process, right from ideation to execution - not just talking to them, but listening to them. Secondly, organizations need to minimise the impact of organizational silos on innovation. Ensuring that solutions to customer-centred challenges are designed around the problem the customer faces as opposed to the architecture of the organisaiton is key.

Increase CQ (Creativity Quotient) throughout the orgainization

Idea by Jason Prunty on November 20, 2012
CQ is built on many aspects of the creative process. The ideas of design thinking plays a big part, as well as other concepts. But, we have to look at how the creative process is practiced through the company. This metric can be studied by, setting a baseline and studying the ebbs and flows of the creative practice through "everyday work". The more aligned the creative process is to everyday work the higher an organizations CQ score. The higher the CQ score that greater chance for innovation.

Minimize the cost of experimentation

Idea by Gary Hamel on November 19, 2012
A company can't explore a lot of new options if it costs millions of dollars (or even thousands) to test each one. To make innovation a capability, an organization must master the art of rapid prototyping. It must maximize the ratio of learning over investment to find the sweet spot of demand for a new product, or perfect a nascent business more rapidly an inexpensively than competitors.

Multiply the sources of funding for new initiatives

Idea by Michele Zanini on November 18, 2012
In most organizations, the only way to get funding for cool new ideas is up the chain of command (good luck if your boss doesn't like your plan). What would Silicon Valley look like if it operated with one giant VC? (hint: think Soviet Union) Here's a different approach: give all employees the permission to invest 5% of their budget in any project they see promising. This would allow "intrapreneurs" to be matched with many potential angel investors.

Put the experiments and trials score-board out of the game until the game really start.

Idea by MAX (Mitesh) Patel on December 1, 2012
Many times our organizational processes don't give us enough chances to fail and improve because they bring the score-board in the game even in the practice session. Everything we do is considered and measured into total efficiency matrix. All our trials and given time are considered as the chances given to us to prove our self. As the trials are meant to be failed on large basis they hand-cuff, discard the creative people with red and yellow card that you haven't shown the tangible results.

Make Collaboration, the cornerstone of Competitive Advantage Culture!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on November 27, 2012
While Strategy is all about creating value, most companies end up competing for the same set of value slices, as opposed to, increasing the size of the value pie. Simply put, when the size of the value pie is enlarged, it is no longer a zero sum game, and so, companies are still motivated to play together, in a collaborative fashion. How? Make collaboration, the cornerstone of company's culture, by combining virtual & physical resources, as outlined in my “Innovating Innovation hack”.

Innovation has to go beyond products and technology!

Idea by Stefan Lindegaard on November 20, 2012
Does it matter that you have the best product or technology if this does not provide the best OVERALL solution to the customer? No, it does not help much. Innovation often fails because there is too much focus on the product or technology aspect of innovation. We need a more holistic approach to innovation; an approach that not only focuses on products and technologies, but also on services and processes. For this to happen, training and education across the organization is key.

Kill A Stupid Rule

Idea by Jay Millstead on November 20, 2012
In "Kill the Company," Lisa Bodell suggests a practical approach of "Kill a Stupid Rule." In small groups use a few minutes to answer one question: If you could kill or change all the stupid rules that get in the way of better serving our customers or just doing your job, what would they be and how would you do it? Sit Back.For 10 mins.,Brainstorm.Ask Everyone for their favorite.Pick a few easy/high impact and kill them on the spot. Shampoo bottle it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat in future meetings.

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.

Marketing for Everyone!

Idea by Julio Sanchez on November 22, 2012
Corporations want innovations that they actually care about, so why not having a free and visible source of marketing insights for everyone to see things such as new trends of consumption? While having the right policies and processes for innovation, making marketing available for every employee can foster innovation ideas in the way that companies need.

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.

Budget time and money for experimentation and have an experiments goal

Idea by Mario Morales, CEO Innovare on November 20, 2012
A truly innovation-friendly company is one that allows people to try new things. Unfortunately, starting experiments in an organisation is very difficult. Some companies are changing this by having a specific budget of time and money for starting experiments and a company wide experiments goal. In this way, anyone that has an idea can ask for a "permission to experiment" his idea, which will get the person an amount of money and time to do it, creating a culture to do it company wide.

Target 50% failure for internal projects

Idea by Mike Anderson on November 26, 2012
If you hit targets 100% of the time (budget, delivery, timescale, KPIs etc.) then you aren't taking enough risk. Leadership should regard 100% as a failure of innovation and ambition. The ideal employee should get it right 50% of the time. To get this dynamic working in the organisation, individuals should stand up in weekly meetings, say what they have done, whether it was a success/failure, and what they learned.

Defeat a "tear things down" culture

Idea by Chris Grams on November 19, 2012
Linus Pauling said "If you want to have good ideas you must have *many* ideas." Yet in many organizations, the good ideas never surface because people are worried they may have to defend them from criticism or attack while still not fully developed. Protect the idea generators by challenging those who tear ideas down. New rule: if someone doesn't like an idea, rather than attack the idea itself, they must instead suggest a better one so that the organization is always building, not tearing down.

An Innovation Hack where the whole company votes the winner...

Idea by Peter Frings on November 20, 2012
Announce a Hack Day where teams present their idea. (Teams are encouraged to be cross-departmental, and are given a significant number of days to prepare their pitch.) The presentations are seen by/distributed to everyone in the company, who then get to vote. Lots of kudos to the winners... which is then amplified because the winning idea has to be backed and funded by the Board. This approach sends the message that anyone can innovate and that innovation is 'bottom up'.

Truly flatten the organization

Idea by Ben on November 20, 2012
As Clay Shirky has pointed out, technology has dramatically lowered the cost of coordinated action, and formal, command-and-control organizational structures from the industrial era are frequently unnecessary, if not counterproductive . Removing hierarchical friction and empowering all parts of the organization to participate in innovation would have an immediate and substantial impact on innovation-friendliness. Truly flatten the corporate organization; don't just talk about it.

Redefine Innovation: Make innovation easy, simple, interesting and fun activity for everybody.

Idea by MAX (Mitesh) Patel on December 1, 2012
If you ask experts, thinkers, gurus and real innovators what is innovation, you will get the answers that reflect Doing and Thinking different,Think Outside the Box,Cultivating new skills,Detail focus to customers etc.The definition of innovation build perception in people as you have to be God Gifted,Genius,Constantly learning,Practicing hard. These things demotivate many people to believe that are not much innovative or this is not my cup of tea and lost their creative confidence.

Draft a social contract for innovation with your team

Idea by Ivan Gonzalez on November 21, 2012
Recently, we drafted one not only for innovation but for all of our decision-making processes. A social contract is basically an agreement among ourselves which tells us what principals will govern our interaction with each other. We landed on these: Be fully present. Speak your truth as you know it now. Experience discomfort. Expect and accept non-closure. Confidentiality. Gentle reminders. Watch your airtime- 2x B4 me. "Ouch!". A 24-hour rule. It has helped us innovate very fast!

Throw away

Idea by Peter Koenig on November 20, 2012
Throw away organigrams. Throw away job descriptions. Let people define their own roles in the organization according to their skills and what they love doing. Let them either create their own projects or coopt themselves to projects of others that inspire them. They are going to do so anyway if they have any fizz. Redraw the organization chart. If they're unable to find their place, fire them - it's best for all. If you're unable to handle this, fire yourself! - it's best for all.

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.

Show Don't Tell

Idea by Moises Norena on November 26, 2012
We can spend all kinds of time in meetings showing power points to explain how great our innovation process is and convincing our leaders of the need to drive more of it. Finding opportunities to showcase the insights, the prototypes, the way things manifest in real life, with the passionate innovators presenting them goes a long way when it comes to driving inspiration and behavior. Innovators must find and produce these opportunities to create internal "demand" for innovation.

Get things (incl. innovations) done collaboratively, with a “checks and balanced", three branch organization structure!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on December 6, 2012
Among all Gov models, the “checks & balanced”, 3 branch model, seems, one of the best- as it, inherently motivates all branches to collaborate & GETS THINGS DONE, without anyone, becoming too powerful. Hence, I suggest a 3 branch org structure for corporations as well, with the CEO as the President, the BU heads as senate, the enabling function heads (HR, Strat, Fin, Proc, IT etc.) as congress, the board as judiciary, & the shareholders as citizens-all collaborating together, to get things done!

Make time to make mistakes

Idea by Johan Prinsloo on November 21, 2012
Allow time-out from project/production pressures to try new things. Display a huge heart and tolerance for failures.

Ask for ideas, from everyone

Idea by Lisa McTigue Pierce on November 21, 2012
When you've identified a problem that needs solving, ask people around you what they would do. You might be surprised at some of the innovative solutions they come up with. Sometimes that's how a germ of an idea grows.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?".

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.

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.

Create an environment that favor both extroverts and introverts

Idea by Tracy Huang on December 5, 2012
A lot of times we hear "to be successful you need to be assertive and outgoing". But people are born with a certain type of personality & they may not want to change that. Introverts may not be as eloquent as the extroverts; yet that doesn't mean their opinions are not important. They just need an envionment, or a new kind of management style, they feel most comfortable with to express themselves. See how Susan Cain describes the power of introverts at TED http://bit.ly/R8wuaa

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.

Cultural Transformation

Idea by Francis Jeyaraj on November 28, 2012
Structural considerations also affect the way in which Performance Management (PM) is been implemented. This is why there is no single way to develop and introduce Performance Management. Structure – the degree of centralization and the extent to which the Bank is hierarchical based. We need to infer the drivers for Performance Management. The procedural and design points can then be dealt with. The final arrangements for pilot schemes (2 Pilots) and implementation have to be made.

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.

Unconditional love and trust

Idea by Naveen khajanchi on November 20, 2012
Its necessary to create a wholesome space of trust in the individual . Each individual is blessed with some wonderful qualities inside , nudge them with love and care to help him tap into them . Allow the freedom and space to experiment and fail yet remain objective with passion ...wonder's will start happening . Purposeful purposelessness will become the unsaid environment and culture .

It's innovation if its new to you!

Idea by Mark McDonald on November 20, 2012
Innovation can be daunting, particularly when equated with invention. Innovation is the introduction of something new, not necessarily something that has never previously existed. Anchoring innovation back to the idea of creating new things can make organization's more innovation friendly. "Using your eyes to plagiarize." Bringing ideas and practices home lowers barriers to innovation, reduces risks and creates change capacity. It's not a re-run it's a new idea to you that creates value.

Breathing Space

Idea by Jill Malleck on November 20, 2012
Build office spaces with windows that open. Get fresh air inside the space. And then, build "breathing space" into the workday schedule. Make it a "norm" to take breathing breaks...in meetings, at lunch, during the day. Teach managers to call a "breathe break". Most people at work are so stretched and so "heads down at it" they can't innovate because they are starved for breath.

Customer Enables you to Innovate

Idea by Devi Prasad on November 19, 2012
Tracking pattern of customer behavior enables lot of innovation in business. If every individual in a organization involves him/her to "brainstorm" or "Informal discussion" on everything related to your business & customer satisfaction,tend to brings out the innovative thinking in you. Innovation can happen by anyone in the organization as long as there is scope available to think and experiment.

Assume Innovation Will Happen and Staff for It

Idea by Braden Kelley on November 19, 2012
Often innovators are punished instead of rewarded. "Thank you for your idea, please continue working and use your personal time to develop the idea further." What if instead of % time (which is hard to manage) or treating innovation projects as an exception, time for innovation was truly part of the staffing plan - like vacation. That way organizations would have the human capital available, and employees and managers could schedule early innovation efforts in much the same way.

Fire everyone and then fund them as a competitor

Idea by Rob Schade on November 20, 2012
Change Employees Context - Tell a product team that they have just been let go from the company however as severance they get to keep the IP from their group. Now the team is told to actively look for ways to compete against their "old" company, identifying their weaknesses and trying to exploit them through product, business model and service innovation. Just by changing their context and having them try to defeat their current employer, great strides in thinking and innovation can occur.

Ask people to give ideas and one of them to get 10% time one week

Idea by Marcos Carmona on November 23, 2012
Ask employees to give ideas about new things or diferent way doind things, and give one of that ideas per week the posibility of having the 10% time of the full team... you'll probably see some of them surprise all :)

several things

Idea by sherry on November 21, 2012
more info sharing on latest-n-greatest, less channels to pass thru for approval, reward staff for innovative ideas, practice what we preach at all levels, bust a move! strategic innovative gatherings a couple times per year

Consistently, recognize and reward free, bold, fresh thinking - formally and informally

Idea by Sridhar Dhulipala on November 20, 2012
On the premise that in any business environment, there is no problem that exists without some sort of feasible solution. It could come from customer facing roles, internal operations, HR, any corner of the organization and outside; from partners, vendors, customers. To create an innovation-friendly organization, it has to begin with a culture that encourages bold, fresh, free thinking, as a consistent, visible initiative that everyone aspires to, de-linked from other formal programs.

The Chapel of Invention and Creativity

Idea by Jonathan F Vernon on November 21, 2012
Hospitals have a Chapel of Rest - distinct in every way from the hospital environment. It gives you time and space to reflect, mourn and if it's your thing - to pray. A Chapel of Innovation and Creativity is also a space set aside that is in every way the opposite to everything else in the organisation. This kind of switching mode can help in both standing back from a problem or getting your head in another place - a guess the Holo Deck does this in Star Trek.

Help People Self-Actualize and Realize Their Full Potential at Work

Idea by Staffan Rydin on November 20, 2012
This idea is founded on a couple of assumptions about human nature and 21st century western culture. 1. Everyone is inherently creative. 2. Everyone wants to contribute. 3. Few people have discovered & developed all/most of their unique talents. 4. Few people have discovered their professional/personal purpose & vision. 5. When an individual’s purpose & vision align with the organizational vision then tremendous positive creative energy and drive is unleashed.

In B2B sales impromptu brainstorms create the right innovations

Idea by Felix Gruijters on November 25, 2012
Too many innovations are created behind desks by people who think they know what the client wants. In B2B the salespersons can offer a clear insight into the client's requirements. At Nuon (a Dutch energy company) the sales person takes the initiative to set up an impromptu brainstorm. Typically he will invite colleagues from all parts of the company. Together they will generate a solution to the client's question. This shared approach creates a stimulus and a shared platform for innovation.