TIP: Is your innovation effort transparent enough?

Photo: Splitshire

Today the traditional model of ‘top management decides’ and ‘everyone else unquestioningly executes’ is less likely to succeed, namely in your innovation efforts. Leaders need to define strategy based upon established fundamentals and then clearly communicate that strategy throughout their organisation. Transparency is paramount in the twenty-first century enterprise.

When in collaborative environments such as innovation initiatives, if you don’t offer high transparency, participants become weary and start to disengage. This lack of transparency can happen in many ways:

  • Individuals contribute ideas or insights and there’s no feedback… or feedback takes weeks or months to arrive
  • Decision making about which ideas move forward is not clear or it is in the hands of only a very few individuals
  • The outcomes of the innovation efforts are not communicated, nor are the profits from them shared with the contributors

To make your innovation programme as transparent as possible – and thus keep people engaged -, here are a couple tips we’ve found helpful:

1. Implement a transparent screening process
At Exago, we are strong believers in the power of collective intelligence. We believe in the wisdom of crowds, that under certain circumstances a large group of individuals tends to make better decisions than a small group of experts.

Based on this belief, we have designed and implemented innovation management online models where ideas are generated and screened in an efficient and transparent way. Using a gamified platform, with a stock market approach, we ask individuals to ‘invest’ in the ideas they feel offer the most value to the organisation.

These decisions are made based on each individual’s experience, competence, and wisdom. Through this ‘idea stock market’ model we, along with all participants, easily discover which ideas are seen to offer the most potential. The great thing about this is that, besides being efficient and fun, it is fully transparent.

2. Communicate successes, contributions and outcomes
We seem to insist a lot on communication, don’t’ we? Well, here we go again: Make always sure you communicate individual and group successes, contributions and outcomes.

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder / pcc@exago.com

FROM THE START: Innovation looks easy – it’s not

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