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encouraging employee idea

Encouraging employee ideas can help your organization develop next-gen innovations

It all starts with an idea. Most amazing inventions and innovations you see around are a result of an idea that someone came up with and was given the resources to execute it. 

Think about Amazon Prime, Prime Air, Google News, and Sony Playstation – some employees working at these respective organizations had an idea and when given the right resources, these ideas transformed into products that fetch their companies millions in revenue.

Encouraging employees ideas, and capturing them is a profitable business move. There are thousands of examples where businesses have profited from implementing ideas suggested by frontline employees. 

But why frontline employees? 

A lot of CXOs have the opinion that their employees might not have any good ideas, or maybe any ideas at all. The ideation is left to a coveted group of individuals and teams who are responsible for brainstorming and coming up with great ideas. 

But what these CXOs don’t realize is they are underutilizing talent and idea pools available to them for free. In fact, according to the book idea-driven organization, roughly 80% of an organization’s performance improvement potential lies in front-line employee ideas and only 20% in management-driven initiatives. This principle is called the 80/20 principle of improvement and has been verified for a lot of organizations that they studied.  

Southwest airlines’ employee idea:

One of the finest examples is Southwest Airlines flight attendant Martha ‘Marty’ Cobbs’s improvisation on the safety announcement speech with humorous additions. Passengers in the cabin started to notice the spin and started to enjoy the announcements. The flight attendant also received YouTube fame when passengers started sharing the recordings of her announcements.  

Some of Marty’s lines included the following: 

“Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then place it on your child. If you’re travelling with more than one child, start with the one with the greatest earning potential.”
‘In the event, you haven’t been in an automobile since 1960, our flight attendants will now show you how to fasten a seatbelt.’
Martha ‘Marty’ Cobbs

Southwest Airlines conducted a lot of customer satisfaction surveys, in which these safety announcements were pronounced as one of the most engaging aspects of the flight. It was also estimated that the value of Southwest’s safety announcements could be worth $140 Million a year in customer loyalty. 

Starbucks name tag idea:

Another example is the name tag idea that a barista in Starbucks came up with. This innovation was recognized by the corporate offices of Starbucks and by 2012, the name-writing campaign was deployed in all the Starbucks operated over the globe. To date, this personalization campaign is done on over 4 billion cups and has helped Starbucks improve customer relationships. 

There are countless examples where ideas by frontline employees helped organizations make or save millions of dollars. An example of the latter is how a factory worker at Swan Vesta saved the company millions of pounds by suggesting to use of only one igniting side on a matchbox rather than two saving the company sandpaper and chemical costs. And who doesn’t know the story of how a janitor came up with the idea of Flamin’ hot Cheetos that opened up an entirely new market segment for Frito-lay? 

Your employees have tons of ideas.

The bottom line is every employee in your organization has got a unique way of analyzing the universe around them. Since they are at the forefront of either manufacturing, developing, or selling the product, they have a unique worldview that if utilized can help your organization make a ton of profit or help save costs and increase revenue. 

Do not let the ideas of your frontline employees go in vain. Your employees’ ideas might form the better part of our next story – How did an employee’s idea change the fortune of X organization?

To track these ideas, all you need is an all-in-one idea management platform that enables you to share challenges and get ideas submitted on the same. The next step is implementing these ideas while collaborating with people who are contributing to building solutions. Need help finding the right platform that can facilitate innovation in your organization? Then, this list of best idea management software can help. 

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