What Is Employee Driven Innovation

Check out HunchBuzz's new post from Jenni Guzman on her take on Employee Driven Innovation

What Is Employee Driven Innovation

Every company is made up of a team of people, ranging from senior management to front of line staff. Each member of that organisation is assigned a particular job, and work to ensure they complete their role, yet one particular job title does not mean that each employee should stop thinking outside the box – rather, every organisation should be encouraging them to do so.

employee driven innovation

When it comes to thinking outside the box, it is often hard to come up with new ideas when you are faced with the same information and tasks everyday. Repetition can often dull down your creative thoughts as you get used to the same way of thinking. Creativity is something that should be cherished in the workplace, as it leads to innovative ideas and solutions for solving Business challenges.

Yet when it comes to other departments within your organisation, you may feel as if you have plenty to contribute as you view things from an outsider’s point of view. You are no longer within the issue, but can provide insight from a completely different perspective. This goes both ways, with staff from other departments being able to help with your internal departmental challenges and issues.

 

You are already taking part in a process called Employee Driven Innovation!!

 

So what is Employee Driven Innovation?

Employee Driven Innovation (EDI) is a fairly new concept, which allows employees to go beyond the boundaries of their primary job to come up with new ideas and solutions to help other sectors in the company. This type of innovation is used to get a range of different perspectives from people who all have the same company goals in mind.

It allows bottom up ideas to come through, which is when front line employees see problems and opportunities that their managers do not. They use their own knowledge and skills to create and come up with good ideas that save the Organisation time and money.

Research done by IA Magazine states that 80% of an organisation’s improvement potential lies in bottom up ideas (see here – Link), with people enjoying having a say on the actionable goals of the company. Bottom up ideas are part of Employee Driven Innovation, in the way that people are given a say and the room to use their own knowledge.

 

Allowing Employee Driven Innovation in the workplace does many things for a company, such as:

  1. Boosting company loyalty, with people feeling dedicated to their organisation
  2. Allowing creative minds to flourish as they have the room to think outside the box
  3. Shows support and encourages collaboration among employees
  4. Allows employees to expand on their knowledge and judgement skills, as they are learning to do things in new ways
  5. Encourages a range of different perspectives, creating diversity in your work environment

Idea Management

As well as maximising the creative minds of your employees, it also allows more collaboration between higher level staff and front of line staff. A common issue people have with Employee Driven Innovation is stepping outside of the idea that someone in a lower role can come up with more ideas they they can at that particular time.

Though this does not occur for each company, it breaks down the barriers held up by authority and gives employees the opportunity to grow within the company. Think of it this way, you are helping each other expand by learning from one another and allowing collaboration. This way of working promotes a positive work environment, and boosts company morale.

An example of this, is in one of HunchBuzz’s Government clients in the UK, whereby the CEO actively collaborated on an idea with one of the junior members of staff (even more impressive is that this is a 9000 employee organisation). As you can imagine this provided a huge boost to the employee in question and gave them a feeling of being valued.

Idea Management software such as HunchBuzz is a good way to avoid these hierarchical issues as you are giving people the centralised ‘digital’ platform to share their ideas. The social space to generate ideas means that it is more accessible to staff, and becomes a quick and easy way for people to interact and collaborate regardless of department or geographical location. Rather, it promotes the main goal of EDI – Innovation.

Innovation is something that shouldn’t be held down by the role you are in, or the work you are doing. Every person has the ability to be creative, and the process of Employee Driven Innovation signifies the potential of employees and the creation/development of ideas.

Companies can develop through the involvement of their workers, while employees can support the development by providing their knowledge and finding new ways to foster innovation.

Jenni Guzman is resident Idea curator and creator of Content at HunchBuzz – Making Ideas Easy since 2012.

Jenni Guzman

For more information on Idea Management and HunchBuzz – contact Innovation Manager – Neil Meekin – neil.meekin@hunchbuzz.com

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