Millennials and innovation in the workplace

In 2016, Deloitte collected the points of view of nearly 7,700 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. All participants had been born after 1982, had obtained a college or university degree, were employed full-time, and predominantly worked in large (100+ employees) private-sector organisations.

We have said it already: Millennials represent an increasing share of the workforce. Moreover, they are no longer leaders of tomorrow; they are, increasingly, leaders of today. As such, understanding their views on how business works and how it should conduct itself goes beyond mere academic interest.

According to Deloitte’s Millennials survey, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would leave his or her current employer to join a new organisation or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 per cent when the time frame is expanded to two years. Why are they so eager to leave their organisations? By 2020, the research adds, 40 per cent of employees will be self-employed or entrepreneurs.

This ‘loyalty challenge’ is driven by a variety of factors. Millennials, in general:

Feel under-utilised and believe they are not being developed as leaders or using their full potential in large-scale organisations. They express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. Regardless of gender or geography, only 28 per cent of Millennials feel that their current organisations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently would like to offer. Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.

They think that businesses should be more ethical and society more focused. They share positive views of businesses’ role in society. Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit, and that there are distinct differences between what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they currently perceive it to be.

Personal values have the greatest influence on Millennials’ decision-making. Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organisational goals, and several have shunned assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs. Only when their personal values match with the organisation’s values do they say they would like to continue to work there.

The values that support long-term business success are treatment of people, ethics, and customer focus. Deloitte asked Millennials, ‘What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?’ They responded that businesses should put employees first, and that they should have a solid foundation based on trust and integrity. Customer care and high-quality, reliable products also ranked relatively highly in importance. Attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number of Millennials. It is noteworthy that few (five per cent) of those answering thought profit-focused values would ensure long-term success.

• Millennials are not anti-profit profiles and recognise money-making as a vital component of business success. They would simply advise against placing too much emphasis on short-term profit maximisation.

The link between Millennials’ loyalty and their feelings about business is not a coincidence. Large-scale organisations are not able to respond sufficiently to Millennials’ preferences. Companies need to be more agile, innovative and inclusive to recover the current deficits in the organisational culture. Thus, those organisations that ‘do the right thing’ may be less likely to lose their Millennial employees. Learning, listening, empowering and sharing are the key actions for them.

Next, we’ll look closer at the generation that follows.

Generation Z and innovation in the workplace

Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

How does the fourth industrial revolution, blurring the real and technological worlds, affect companies and the way they do business? How do companies manage their corporate culture to increase employee engagement? What tools and methods are used to keep employees motivated and engaged?

The business world has been changing fast, even dramatically. In the not-so-distant past, loyalty was key to both employers and the workforce, with job security becoming a main goal. If you had the opportunity to work in a corporate company, and if you worked hard, you would have found yourself a job for life. The concepts of ‘loyalty’, ‘job security’ or ‘job for life’ just seem too detached from reality for companies and employees nowadays.

The Millennium generation – those born between the early 1980s and early 1990s – is conquering the workplace, slowly taking the place of Generation X, the baby boomers, born between the early 1960s and late 1970s. With the Millennium generation, a new set of values has arrived.

The rhythms and paradigm of life itself have changed. In our increasingly complex world, life, work, production and politics have become independent of time and space. Industries are being disrupted, start-ups are eating away business models and the average company these days lasts about a third of the lifespan of 50 years ago. The hierarchical structures defined in the industrial society are being replaced by active network systems and evolutive organisational models. The experience economy is spreading rapidly. We are not trying to solve the chaos anymore; we are only struggling to manage it.

Consequently, there is plenty of thinking and advice out there about different methods and approaches to sustain companies’ lifespans, drive sustainability and increase employee engagement. The real dilemma of large companies seeking to survive and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions is that they need more employees with creative and innovative ideas, but these profiles seem to be less inclined to work at large companies than in the past.

We will discuss why that is next.

Millennials and innovation in the workplace
Generation Z and innovation in the workplace
How innovation can help you conquer the new generations
How to create a culture of collaborative innovation in younger generations
Why is innovation management a powerful tool to engage Generations Y and Z
Six best innovation practices to engage Millennials and Gen Zers

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

How to conquer your Daily Innovation Zone

Once you’ve understood the four quadrants of the innovation model – steady growth, productivity gain, industry leadership, game change -, you’ll need a plan to conquer your own Daily Innovation Zone. This means also learning how to create game changing innovation with minimum cost and risk.

To do it, consider the green zone at the bottom of the model. This is the daily innovation zone and spreads across from process to product innovation but in a narrow band on the boundary of incremental change.

Innovation Quadrant for Corporate Innovation

The theory is that a company that trains itself to constantly innovate in this zone – small changes and improvements on a daily basis – will most certainly position itself to deliver that big radical, game changing product or industry leading process in the long run. These baby steps would help the company start small, take lower risks, and make innovation a part of its DNA.

Daily innovation is more about building a culture of innovation. It is not about creating an “innovation committee” or “working group.” It is about motivating everyone in the organization to think like an innovator, celebrating daily improvements in the life of the organization. A zone where saving a sheet of paper is treated on par with reducing the cost of production, or adding a new feature to a product.

From janitor to CEO, everyone is involved in the process. Self-driven, motivated and eager to make a change – with a sense of pride at the changes they bring and a reward that may be as little as a pat on the back.

Creativity, creative leadership and the value of innovation management

“Innovation is not for us”, they say

By Rumman Ahmad. An MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University, Rumman trains, teaches and facilitates groups of people to learn and apply the creative process to solve problems, energizing and motivating them to do their best. He is also the organizer of an annual conference on innovation in Pakistan. An Exago partner since 2016 in this key geography, Rumman has developed a Model for Daily Innovation which can be complemented by Exago’s innovation management software.

Welcome to our renewed mission, brand and product offering

We all sometimes feel the need or a resolve to explore and create new paths. At Exago, we’ll be celebrating our 1oth anniversary this year and understand it is the time for such evolution, so that we are fit to evolve with your business in the years ahead. As a result, we bring you:

• A new mission statement: we embrace the mission of making innovation come together, both by engaging everyone to collaborate and share the innovation challenge, and by delivering a powerful platform designed to find, improve and bring to life ideas with high potential for value creation.

• A new image: with our innovation management software fully conquering our core business, Exago is now the software, the people and the company. This fresh positioning has inspired a new brand and website, to introduce the best of us.

• A new product offer: after listening to our clients and market needs, we now deliver three software editions:

  • EXAGO SMART gives you advanced innovation performance. Based on our US-patented prediction markets algorithm, this platform efficiently gathers your company’s collective intelligence for smarter decision-making;
  • EXAGO OPEN will take your innovation programme beyond corporate walls, effectively engaging external stakeholders;
  • Arriving soon is EXAGO START, a swift innovation software for those taking the first steps into building an idea management programme.

Regardless of how much changes, our goal to help all our clients succeed in their innovation programme remains the same, and just got stronger.

Exago featured in Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017”

For the third consecutive year, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company references Exago as one of the software providers with traction and visibility in the idea management industry. Exago reaches 100% depth of functionality in idea collection, refinement and review, idea portfolio management, idea execution, as well as mobile offer and user experience.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017” highlights Exago’s “comprehensive idea management process”, with the option to outsource screening with specific requirements, along with other platform management and advisory services. The report also emphasises how in the last year “Exago came up with a new release that introduced the ability to customize the idea workflow according to client’s innovation process and enhanced its reporting and UX capabilities”.

Even if innovation programmes can exist without this technology, Gartner says it can benefit them greatly: by focusing creativity in key business challenges, promoting engagement, easily structuring and managing each innovation stage and opening the innovation challenge to internal and external participants. The transformation to digital business is also “increasing IT leaders’ interest in software to support innovation initiatives”.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017” offers insightful market recommendations, harnessing the most complete data collection for industry members and prospective innovation software buyers. Exago was previously referenced in the guide’s 2015 and 2016 editions.


You can register for access to the research here.