Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

5 Design Traits for High Performance Innovation Systems

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Aug 4, 2015 3:41:00 PM

Over the last 12 + years of working at the Eureka! Ranch and the Innovation Engineering Institute I've had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with some of the most brilliant minds in innovation, business and marketing.  Recently, our founder, Doug Hall sat down with Dr. Dean Shroeder, co-author of The Idea Driven Organization: Unlocking the Power in Bottome up Ideas to talk about innovation collaboration systems.  Below are are few of things that we learned while listening in on their chat.

High Performance Innovation Systems or Idea Systems have a number of design traits that separate them from classic innovation suggestion boxsuggestion box and social media sharing systems:

Leadership Defines What's VERY Important: When you ask for ideas with no direction you get ideas with no direction. High performance systems provide clear strategic direction of what leadership of the company or department are looking for. This means absolute clarity on: mission, narrative, strategic exclusions, tactical constraints and exploration areas.

Time, Resources, Polices: When the employees are focused on what's VERY important then there is a willingness to provide support for the effort. Successful programs provide employees with a couple of hours a week to dedicate.

Make it EASY to PRIVATELY Share Ideas & Drive Out Fear: Employee fear of getting in trouble, looking stupid, or saying the wrong thing is at an all time high. The best way we know to address this is by providing systems that enable employees to create PRIVATE networks of collaboration and to allow them to make PRIVATE responses to company requests.

Educate Teams and Energize with Weekly Brainstorming (Create) Sessions: Provide basic training in how to create, communicate and commercialize ideas. Then, keep the stimulus coming. Each week conduct a 30 minute session in each department or work group focused on igniting fresh ideas.

ThinkstockPhotos-495847877Igniting INTRINSIC Motivation: The research is clear that paying for ideas through contests and the like creates a short term energy that soon dies. To create a sustained high performance idea system ignite intrinsic motivation through - personal Thank You's - and celebrations of all those who participated in the effort each month. Provide a stronger sense of belonging to those who participate then those who don't.

Here is Dr. Deming's way of articulating the power of enabling employees, "The result will in time be greater innovation, applied science, technology expansion of market, greater service, greater material reward for everyone. There will be joy in work, joy in learning. Anyone that enjoys work is a pleasure to work with. Everyone will win; no loser."



View Video of Doug & Dean Chatting


Topics: innovation, innovation system, collaboration

Corie Roudebush Spialek

Written by Corie Roudebush Spialek

Corie is the Director of Operations at Eureka! Ranch. She has a superlative attention to detail, yet sees the big picture. She is vigilant at doing the right things – even if they are not the easy thing to do. She’s efficient, persistent, dedicated, and unflinchingly committed to the Ranch and her clients. During her over 14 years with the Ranch she has helped push teams from a diverse group of companies like Jim Beam, Tyson Foods, Walmart, General Mills, Infantino, Public Radio International, National Wildlife Federation, and The Student Conservation Association to new places in their approach to innovation. Corie is a DePauw University graduate who gets the job done with grace and good humor. She and her husband Ed live in Cincinnati, Ohio with their son and twin girls. She is a DePauw University graduate who spends her free time at the pool or on the lake with her husband and three kids.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


So, many exciting things are going on at Eureka! Ranch and with Innovation Engineering don't miss out on anything:

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