Step 3: Invest more in a bottom-up approach for your innovation agenda

When developing your innovation agenda, bear in mind that employees deal with inefficiencies in your company daily, often having diverse and powerful ideas related to organisational processes and products. They also have opinions and insights concerning the areas and processes in which it could make more sense to cut or to invest.

Top-down approaches sometimes bring your initiatives from micro level to macro level, relying on transformational opportunities to reduce costs. Yet they do it without looking at the whole picture, unable to identify the real inefficiencies, unable to create a sustained way to drive costs and to change inefficient spending behaviours.

You can save time and money by having your employees contribute ideas for the cost-cutting strategy, as well as cost-optimisation ideas that can transform and impact the company positively.

Any ‘reductions’ or ‘cuts’ should aim at building a more robust organisation, in search of innovative ways to redefine itself. There are limitless options according to your reality. Have a look at some sample results from customers who incorporated a cost-cutting strategy in their innovation agenda:

  • By selling obsolete stock items to employees interested in buying them, an organisation generated a new revenue source and freed storage space, allowing a much more rational use of space;
  • A client was able to streamline its customer support call centre efficiently, improving service quality and vastly reducing the number of calls received by the customer service department, simply by adopting different colours for cables, routers and set-top boxes;
  • They also saved €2M with a new, eco-friendlier packaging system;
  • Another client embraced distribution of administrative documents by bike, a cool and eco-friendly idea with significant results: by replacing 30% of the motorcycles with bike couriers, distribution costs were reduced and almost a ton of CO2 emissions was saved in just seven months.

STEP 3 advises you to invest more on a bottom-up approach, calling on people’s knowledge and experience to help you separate the wheat from the chaff and find concrete and innovative solutions, mainly at micro level.

Andreia Agostinho Dias, Sales Executive
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

You can access the full paper here

 

Why leaders with a clear vision connect innovation and strategic cost-cutting

A successful cost-cutting strategy is connected to an organisation’s capacity to evolve, to innovate, and to do so as a whole. Companies can, in fact, keep innovating in ways that do not require high investments in new product research and development, and which can save substantial amounts of time and money.

This process should start internally by capturing the wisdom of each employee, but can also reach external stakeholders, harnessing their potentially powerful insights, creating communities around the company and building communication bridges with clients and suppliers.

By listening to all these voices, and collecting the diverse expertise and know-how of their workforce, organisations can avoid waste, concentrate energies and operate in a more efficient way – thus getting prepared to react and adapt to continuous change.

Losing ‘fat’, as we know, makes us more agile, and agility is key in our times.

In this sense, leaders with a clear vision tend to use cost-cutting to align costs with business strategy. ‘Strategic cost-cutting’ helps companies lower costs, focus on the aspects of the business that are controllable and free up resources to fund transformation and future growth.

Innovation management does not offer magic formulas to do this, nor to mitigate slow growth. Yet sustainable growth, by its essence, cannot exist without ongoing innovation.

In the upcoming posts, we seek to understand what a strategic cost-cutting approach is in more detail, and how it can be important for companies in our economic environment. We also highlight how an innovation culture is fundamental to implement it, and guide you through five major steps to make it work in your organisation.

Andreia Agostinho Dias, Sales Executive
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

You can access the full paper here

 

Exago partners with Microsoft for optimal innovation software performance

Exago announces a technological and business partnership with Microsoft, to strengthen its product scalability and performance and to accelerate growth in sales. Now hosted by the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, Exago’s collaborative innovation SaaS solution is fully set to grow alongside corporate innovation programmes, supporting unlimited users’ increase in multiple geographical locations. The software is already available in eight different language options.

Exago’s CEO, Diana Neves de Carvalho, explains that this technological partnership “answers clients’ increasing security concerns worldwide. Exago’s infrastructure, hosted by Microsoft Azure, can now guarantee total network and perimeter security, as well as compliance with all major industry standards”. Based on the most frequently used web technologies, Microsoft software ensures fast and controlled upgrades, as well as business continuity.

Exago and Microsoft will be working together to open new business channels and explore strategic markets. Recognising the needs of start-ups and small- and medium-sized companies that develop technology solutions, Microsoft also wants to accelerate existing and new solutions and applications to the market. “Exago’s Idea Market software allows companies to efficiently manage their innovation challenges and continuously find new solutions and growth paths. We therefore believe we are investing in the future,” says Diogo Pinto de Sousa, Partners Director at Microsoft.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

Better looking and more clever than ever, this is our Fox Edition

Exago’s 3.6 idea management software release is a major leap forward from the previous versions. With a brand new homepage look and feel, it offers additional idea review gates and a more comprehensive evaluation process, as well as more effective communication mechanisms.

YOU’LL FIND A FRESH HOMEPAGE DESIGN
Fox’s homepage follows the most up-to-date web design trends to give users an attractive and easy-to-navigate environment. You can expect: new layout of widgets and new navigation mechanisms; more graphical and appealing design configurations; expanded and more appealing highlights’ widget for more effective communication.

NEW IDEA WORKFLOW GATES AND FUNNEL
We know that flexibility is key to our current and future customers, as their idea management processes evolve. So we keep looking for better and more effective ways to manage the idea workflow, which now also includes:

  • New idea evaluation gates (review rating) in custom statuses: ideas can now be attributed to different groups for evaluation, and consideration of different evaluation dimensions (per status), which is particularly useful when specific expertise and knowledge are needed for a more comprehensive idea assessment. In addition, evaluations can be made public or private, according to the initiative’s requirements, providing greater flexibility in the process.
  • New visibility permissions for submitted ideas: to ensure that ideas are aligned and relevant to the challenges, they can now first pass through a validation gate before being published and visible to all.

MORE THOROUGH EVALUATION PROCESS
To enable more complete and comprehensive evaluation, Exago’s Fox edition offers:

  • Sharing of private comments between evaluators: this new feature allows evaluators to share among each other views and insights on ideas under assessment.
  • New, more complete reports and dashboard: with new evaluation gates come updated reports. They now include additional content and new evaluation dimensions that bring greater detail and flexibility to platform data analysis. The dashboard now also refers to custom statuses and managers can follow the number of ideas distributed, allowing for a more complete view of the cycles’ progress.

EXTENDED COMMUNICATION OPTIONS
FOX’s release opens new communication bridges with active and potential participants, namely with:

  • Fresh news page: a brand new news page, with a sleek design and great feel, now keeps all users informed and updated with relevant information related to the shared challenges and the initiative itself.
  • New guest mode function for unregistered users: in response to the needs of open innovation initiatives, we have developed a more intuitive and revealing Guest Mode. Unregistered users can now experience the benefits of being part of these communities and are invited to join in.
  • On-demand custom notifications: in addition to Fox’s default notification engine, you can now send custom notifications to all users or to specific groups.

To see our new idea management software edition live reach us here
You can also get our Fox edition brochure here.

What we’ve learned about the idea management challenge

The clock is ticking. Most managers (86%, to be precise) believe transformation in their companies is imperative to guarantee unrelenting success, according to the Oracle and Forbes report, Making the Change: Planning, Executing and Measuring a Successful Business Transformation. However, one in five companies has failed in its innovation attempts, and three in five have not yet made any effort in this area.

Developing sustainable innovation capabilities is the only way for companies to stay in the race. Indeed, idea management software – functioning as an idea market – has proven to be highly effective at unleashing your people’s hidden innovation potential. Nevertheless, technology doesn’t work alone.

You thus have to develop an innovation programme that engages each person, promoting his or her participation over time. Your programme needs to collect everyone’s insights and experience efficiently, promoting a collaborative environment – where ideas are discussed and enriched – and focusing on generating answers in the form of actionable ideas and projects.

To sum up, you have to gear your efforts to generate three key success factors – developing a process that is highly engaging, highly efficient and sustainable over time. The creation of an inclusive culture capable of continuously transforming your best ideas into real value is, at the end of the day, the ultimate reward for any innovation manager.

FROM THE START:
Can you master the 3 key success factors of innovation management?

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