10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 8 has to be properly geared

Photo: markusspiske@pixabay.com

Online platforms are powerful innovation enablers – the building blocks to produce outcomes. But they won’t stand on their own. If you want to create a true innovation culture, you need to have as many people as possible participating in the process. You need to manage those tools efficiently.

The typical suggestion box mechanism in which participants’ activity gets restricted to submitting ideas is certainly not up to the challenge. The forum model – where people can submit and comment on other people’s ideas – also has its limitations.

Your participants need to get involved in the evaluation and selection processes, as well. This is the only way to boost the scope of your target and to convince people their contributions are valued.

Idea management software, functioning as an ‘idea market’, has proven to be highly effective at unleashing your people’s and communities hidden innovation potential, crossing all boundaries. Geared to reaching goals, this gets each person to engage and participate more over time, whether you’re seeking to improve performance, find new products and methods or develop a widespread, collaborative culture of innovation.

These platforms can collect everyone’s ideas and insights, regardless of individuals’ geographical dispersion, when carefully designed to:

  • Be flexible and customisable to several languages and different look-and-feel;
  • Be inclusive, motivating different types of people;
  • Be transparent, so that participants understand the rules and constraints;
  • Provide (immediate) feedback for people to remain engaged and understand how they can improve their participation;
  • Provide social interaction, since sharing, competition and collaboration are decisive stimuli motivating people to contribute;
  • Have clear incentives and recognition mechanisms;
  • Be entertaining – using gamification mechanics, that make the process more attractive and sustainable.

Following these guidelines, we base our solutions on expert services and a software platform that mimics a stock market – all can submit, comment and next invest in the ideas they believe in, and be recognised and awarded for creating value. Using gamification, this model keeps adoption levels high over time.

Additionally, we use and recommend the adoption of prediction markets mechanisms. They allow dealing visibly with high volumes of information, typical in multinational organisations, and make decision-making more efficient, harnessing your community’s collective intelligence.

# Make participation inclusive
# Make work fun – gamify
# Use prediction markets’ powerful evaluation engine

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

READ MORE:
Number 9 makes this a shared journey

FROM THE START:
Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work

10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 7 ignites motivation

Photo: Hans@pixabay.com

‘What’s in it for me?’ is the question your people will ask. Incentives motivate people. It’s not necessarily about tangible rewards such as prizes, but, most of all, recognition. Being recognised and to gain visibility inside the organisation motivates people to contribute to idea management programmes in every stage of the process – from thinking to creation to action.

Give your affiliates enough autonomy to adapt the plans to the local reality. Design your incentives model thoroughly to be productive and appealing to ensure employees are engaged and aligned with leadership agenda. The incentives can address different motivations: From simple vouchers and charity donations to opportunities to training in specific areas.

In addition, you should have a mechanism that recognises engagement. This means rewarding idea generation and participations that create value. By and by, celebrate idea implementation and identify the relevance and impact upon your business:

  • When using online participation mechanisms, you can create a virtual leaderboard. It’s a great way of showing everyone who is helping your company to create more value, across branches.
  • Acknowledge, as well, people’s contributions outside the platform – for instance, public recognition in the year-end enterprise gettogether is a strong motivator.

# Offer rewards and recognition (a.k.a incentives)
# Give constant feedback

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

READ MORE:
Number 8 has to be properly geared

FROM THE START:
Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work

10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 6 assures community awareness

Photo: Ryan McGuire@gratisography.com

If people don’t come, your innovation efforts stand no chance. Active and clear communication is fundamental to maximising engagement, guaranteeing adequate participation. It also assures community awareness. Building a witty communication plan – one that lives and breathes innovation – is paramount for the success of your idea management programme across borders.

When putting it together, make sure you have a complete plan with clearly defined targeted audiences, across cultures and business units, key messages, a media strategy and frequency expectations. For such undertaking, you have to involve your HQ communication teams, as well as country and business communication teams, to develop more detailed and oriented plans.

Remember to communicate continuously, as the process evolves. The more individuals see the success of projects to which they have contributed, the more likely they are to remain mobilised.

#Have a witty communication plan
#Adapt communication locally
#Communicate continuously

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

READ MORE:
Number 7 ignites motivation

FROM THE START:
Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work

10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 5 gets you to pick the right fights

Photo: Ryan McGuire@gratisography.com

Whether you seek to apply innovation management to solving very specific business challenges or to creating a companywide culture and capability, ask yourself, ‘What do I want to change in my organisation?’ Understanding your ambitions helps you materialise a migration path, set your expectations and allocate resources more rationally.

Therefore, guarantee your programme is relevant both to your people and to the organisation:

  • Have business relevance: Don’t solve problems you don’t have. Pick the right fights aligned with your strategic leadership agenda. Key business challenges make the most relevant innovation challenges.
  • Focus people’s attention on relevant matters: Channel awareness toward the need to tackle an explicit problem, concentrating your people’s collective intelligence on what really matters. Explain pressing needs and priorities but also the low-hanging fruit and other demands that can, in their own time, become equally important.
  • Narrow down your challenges: The narrower the scope of the challenge, the more imaginative the audience becomes. The more ideas you will secure.
    This is of crucial importance in widespread organisations – inefficiency in the headquarters compound energy usage in Switzerland is probably very irrelevant to your Peruvian employees. Even though corporate challenges do intersect your organisation, remember to align them to local reality, also giving space to specific priorities, within specific industry and geography scopes. Your local innovation advocates are crucial to defining, monitoring and reporting on these advances.
  • Have problem champions: International idea management programmes have triumphed by negotiating innovation challenges with particular business unit leaders. Take leaders’ challenges and name them innovation challenges – you will have your own champions.

#Don’t solve problems that you don’t have
#Make business challenges innovation challenges
#Be very specific in defining your battles, across countries and businesses

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

READ MORE:
Number 6 assures community awareness

FROM THE START:
Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work

10 best practices for cross-border innovation: Analysing number 4

Photo: Joshua Earle@unsplash.com

Nike’s goal is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’. Barnes & Noble bookstores’ mission statement is ‘to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell’. And Starbuck’s motto is ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time’. What is the perfect umbrella for your initiative?

When launching your innovation effort, you have to find a way to communicate that the initiative is bigger than just a simple project with a set of processes and tools. Individuals need a meaningful purpose to motivate them to dedicate their free time to activities that are not part of their official job description.

You have thus to follow up and build up on your organisation’s mission. Define a meaningful purpose for your innovation effort and identify ‘the jobs-to-be-done’ through innovation.

Show your teams that this is the opportunity to shape the company’s future, to out-differentiate our competition. More importantly, to write history together.

#Define a purpose that is bigger than the business itself

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

READ MORE:
Number 5 gets you to pick the right fights

FROM THE START:
Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work