ELIS launches open innovation challenge for social and individual development

Associazione Centro ELIS, a non-profit organisation focused on preparing both young and adults for the labour market, is calling on its main stakeholders and Italian universities students to get involved in social and individual development efforts. ELIS, in association with ENEL group, wants to gather fresh insights into how to promote smarter cities, homes and manufacturing, as well as digital education and employee engagement – by using Exago’s gamified open innovation software.

Students and stakeholders are invited to submit, comment, evaluate and select the ideas they believe can meet the challenge. With a sophisticated but simple user interface, Exago’s platform allows ELIS to access external innovation sources easily and to welcome and recognise different types of participation, while rewarding all valuable contributions.

Elis hopes to ‘mobilise more easily different expertise and points of view to meet our goals of promoting vocational training and social development. We also want to find new ways to bring people, schools, universities and enterprises together, in Italy and in the developing countries were we are working”.

Founded in Rome in 1962, Associazione Centro ELIS operates with the belief that education and training are fundamental and privileged tools to promote the individual, and represent the basic and permanent values necessary to achieve social and economic values such as labour, solidarity and development. ELIS is thus committed to guaranteeing the constant adaptation of its programmes to the evolution and needs of the labour market.

10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 9 makes this a shared journey

Photo: Austin Ban@unsplash.com

People need to understand clearly the common innovation journey ahead, when developing your idea management programme across borders. They need to have a voice and trust the process.

Prediction markets, as mentioned, are powerful engines to generate, screen and select ideas – in the most efficient and transparent way. You should also give constant feedback on contributions and provide adequate guidance. Both on idea submission and commenting, it’s important to ‘filter’ what is not value creation and ensure people understand how they can create value and improve outcome.

Again, remember to communicate individual and group contributions to ensure transparency and reap the engagement rewards. If you don’t provide constant feedback, engagement will quickly fade away. Once credibility is lost, it’s much more difficult to get people back to the game.

# Implement transparent screening processes
# Communicate successes, contributions and outcomes

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

Number 10 is all about results

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

Number 8 has to be properly geared

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

TIP: How to build a winning innovation team?

You want to set the innovation ball rolling, but you need your team to come along. What’s the trick to engaging people and their enthusiasm?

1. First, a thorough and intelligent communication plan
Building a communication plan that promotes innovation is essential. When putting this plan together, be sure to consider a complete scope that includes clearly defined audiences, key messages, frequency expectations, and a media strategy. To have a good innovation management software is not enough. And do not forget to make the most out of your existing internal media (like newsletters, intranet, and internal TV).

Other non-conventional media can also be considered. When planning your innovation program, be sure to engage your internal personnel and any agencies you work with.

2. “What’s in it for me?”
This is the number one question most people will ask. Organizations, business units, and individuals are motivated by incentives. These don’t have to be tangible incentives; the most essential we’ve found is recognition. Being recognized and acknowledged motivates people to contribute to innovation programs at every stage of the process.

Insight: “The majority of senior executives (that is, C-level executives and vice presidents) and decision makers (that is, directors and managers) are satisfied with the return on innovation spending. In sharp contrast, little more than a third of other employees—36 percent of respondents—are satisfied.” Senior Executive Innovation Survey, BCG, 2010

3. Feedback, again and again
Be sure to tell everyone exactly what’s going to happen and what has happened. The times are gone when management could withhold information and expect everyone to continue to diligently contribute.

There’s nothing more annoying to a potential contributor than to be kept in the dark after dedicating his or her time to an innovation workshop, submitting an idea, or otherwise investing energy in the initiative. An absence of feedback will dramatically disengage people.

Remember: Engagement is the fuel for innovation.

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

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

TIP: No team, no game

As any good coach recognizes, if your team is not motivated, why bother set the ball rolling?

The challenge applies to innovation. You may have your program in place with a brand, a logo, and maybe even a mascot. You may have the energy to start the campaign so you flick a switch and still… nobody comes.

This is the most challenging roadblock to overcome in innovation management programs – lack of engagement. Low participation levels can exist right from the start or may develop over time, even if you have a good Idea Management Software in place. Where did the energy and enthusiasm for innovation go? They’re still present but you have failed to harness them.

What’s the trick to engaging people and their enthusiasm? How do you increase the stickiness of your innovation efforts?


“Consider the recent ‘Global Workforce Survey’ conducted by Towers Perrin, an HR consultancy… The survey covered many of the key factors that determine workplace engagement, including: the ability to participate in decision-making, the encouragement given for innovative thinking, the availability of skill-enhancing job assignments and the interest shown by senior executives in employee well-being.

Here’s what the researchers discovered: barely one-fifth (21%) of employees are truly engaged in their work, in the sense that they would ‘go the extra mile’ for their employer. Nearly four out of ten (38%) are mostly or entirely disengaged, while the rest are in the tepid middle.”

Gary Hamel, WSJ, “Management’s Dirty Little Secret”

Remember: contributing to enterprise innovation is everyone’s job. It’s also generally an extra responsibility on top of someone’s daily tasks so encouragement is needed to get their attention and participation.

So, how to build a winning team?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

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