This month we proudly launched IdeasBoard. A neat little application that gives everyone in an organization the opportunity to submit the next big, or even small idea. The service is really simple to use: you submit an idea, your colleagues – in fact everyone in your organization – can give feedback; the idea is voted on and appropriate decision maker makes the final ruling on how and if to take the idea forward.

The concept follows the idea that everyone in an organization has the ability and right to innovate. Institutionalizing innovation, or giving employees the right to step up and make a difference, is one of the best ways for businesses to come up with their next great idea. As Gary Hamel is quoted on the subject of Intrapreneurship…

“Who in your organization do you believe is responsible for fundamental shifts in strategy? There is only one right answer, and that is ‘Everybody’.”

And it’s also one of Google’s not so secret secrets, decentralizing the innovation process by tapping into the thoughts and ideas of its employees, empowering them to run with new ideas. If Google does it, then there’s a good precedent.

It’s not a new concept. Step back to Japan’s manufacturing industry in the 50s and 60s. The market had a pretty bad reputation for producing poor quality products. Their philosophy was to keep the production going at no matter what cost. They wouldn’t stop for anything, always striving to increase efficiency. They had quality checkers at the end of the line, but keeping up with such a rapid rate was impossible and quality suffered.

Until one fine day, a clever manufacturer decided that it was all very well being the most efficient, but if you delivered the poorest product as a result, objectives hadn’t been met. The company switched from the non-stop production line, to giving its workers the responsibility of quality control. They installed an alarm bell on every workstation and if a problem was found, the alarm was rang and everyone stopped to help resolve the problem before they were allowed to continue.

Small and continuous improvements, made by employees, helped them turn their reputation around and become a world leader in manufacturing. No small feat. It follows the Kaizen practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen teaches that regular activities, involving employees, can make continuous improvements to all functions and processes within an organization.

Step forward to 2016 and the IdeasBoard is born

Step forward to 2016 and the IdeasBoard is born. The application lets an organization capture the best ideas from every employee and get instant reactions and feedback. From the simplest idea, such as “I think we should switch to eco ink cartridges?” To top line innovation: “Why don’t we make our bananas blue?” Well, you know what I mean!

How does it work?

  1. An employee has a lightbulb moment and submits her idea to the Ideas Feed, chooses who to share it with – a few colleagues in her team, department or the whole company.
  2. Ideas can be sorted by activity and popularity, plus you can sort ideas by subjects you’re interested in.
  3. The idea gets discussed and comments can be made. Often ideas start off as good ideas and become great ideas with a little input from your colleagues.
  4. Employees can vote on ideas. The number of votes an idea receives is compared to the number of views. It demonstrates how strongly the organization feels about an idea.
  5. An assigned decision maker (this can be anyone) decides what to do with the ideas; how or who will take them forward.
  6. Both the employee who submitted the idea and the voters can stay updated with the idea via email and mobile push notifications.

Ultimately it’s a smart way of collecting ideas and opinions from everyone on how to continuously improve the organization. And as the whole ideas process is now streamlined it enables positive changes to happen quicker.

David Brailsford’s marginal gains approach took the British Cycling team to new heights. Seeking these gains from every employee is at the heart of IdeasBoard. It challenges every employee to work towards improvements and feel they have played an integral part in positive organizational change.

Even if each idea only improves efficiency or revenue by 1% or less. Together we can make significant and continuous improvements to the company.

Find out more about IdeasBoard for your organization.

Louise Brace

This post was written by Louise Brace on

Hi, I'm Louise Brace, resident storyteller at Happy Melly. A global network of people working towards happiness in the workplace. I write about employee engagement and motivation, company culture, brand values and how to be happy at work! Excited to be a guest contributor for ThanksBox.

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