Crowdsourcing innovation internally can be extremely productive for large organisations. Over the last year I’ve started to work very closely with Spigit – a US company that has the leading tool in the innovation crowdsourcing market. Late last year the Wall Street Journal had a nice summary of why organisations are buying into the idea of innovation from within:
It’s often the employees—rather than outside consultants—who know a company’s products and processes best. According to management experts, many of the most innovative companies tend to solicit ideas from staff throughout the organization, not just the executive ranks.
But it’s often hard for rank and file workers to be heard: Research has found that the average U.S. employee’s ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years, says Alan G. Robinson, a professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Now though, more companies are realizing the value of their workers’ input. Spurring the process are so-called innovation-management programs such as BrainBank Inc., InnoCentive Inc. and Spigit Inc., which help companies set up online idea-submissions systems in which employees can enter, comment and vote on ideas.
Spigit was also the subject of another article in Canada, which referenced an airline implementing the software. The interesting thing about this example is that it mentions the return on investment from just two ideas:
WestJet has implemented a number of employees ideas, including getting rid of ticket jackets – which saves about $700,000 a year – and making the employee standby travel line automated, rather than going through the call centre. Tilbury says that reduces costs by about $1 million a year and freed up the centre by removing about 18 per cent of its calls.
You can read more about the Wall Street article here and the full story from Canada here.