This may be to vague...but without too much detail here goes.

I work for a mid-size software organization that is part of a bigger company that isn't a software company.  I'm leading up an event that is supposed to allow people time to be innovative.  But the real goal is to change the culture back to one where people feel like they can be innovative every day, management listens to good ideas, etc.

So, I guess I need two visuals.

  1. Get people to participate in the event - take chances, try new things, reach out to new people, have people try to see how their product could work with another one they don't know too well.
  2. Take this from being an event to being a way of behaving.
wendii's picture
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Some really really big white boards on a wall somewhere where people walk a lot.. like 6 x 6ft wide white boards in the corridor on the way to wherever coffee is made.

Start writing on them.. someone writes a few words or draws a picture to illustrate something, or asks a question, and people write answers, or I can help with that, or draw more pictures.. at the end of the week, take pictures & post them on your intranet..with updates on how each one works out..



MsSunshine's picture

I like this idea.  But I'm thinking about trying to get that wallpaper that is like a whiteboard.  Then we could put it down the halls.  They tried getting free standing whiteboards years back and nothing happened.  But they had to put them in alcoves so they didn't block the hall.  They just ended up being ignored.

We're a global company and have a SharePoint site for this.  But that hasn't generated much because people just don't read it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I'm wondering if some combination of doing the two.  I could also get people from different locations to use the pictures to exchange ideas.  Maybe have questions or challenges sent from one location to another.

jhack's picture

White boards are much more effective than online collaborations, in my experience.  

Having a full wall of white board is great.  You can have lunch meetings in there with themes.  No one comes prepared (sort of) - the goal is to brainstorm one or two ideas, using the white boards. 

Can you do the 3M / Google (and others) thing, where each employee is expected to spend 10% or 20% of their time on their own ideas?  This could represented in a pie chart posted in the lunch room, etc. 

How about posting pictures around the office of failures that led to success:  the Apple Lisa next to the Mac, the Motorola "Brick" next to the StarTac, that sort of thing.  

PS:  The real test comes when someone fails.  How you respond will be more important than any visuals you come up with.  Be prepared to stand by your team no matter what.  

John Hack

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I think the key thing is John's 'PS'.   It's not that management will listen to good ideas that's the important thing, of course they'll listen to good ideas unless they're daft.  What's important is that they'll listen to bad ideas with the same aclarity, say "Thank you", consider them then explain why they're bad ideas, wouldn't work and, non-judgementally, how the person who came up with them could avoid similar errors in the future (i.e. give supportive but adjusting feedback). 

No-one should ever be afraid to propose something in case it's a bad idea.  I remember a business parable I was told some years ago.  It was basically that sales people should not be worried by being told 'No.' by customers, i.e. not making a sale, in a highly competative market.  Only a certain small proportion of potential customers are going to buy, the sales people are going to hear 'No.' a lot.  Each 'No.' however gets them one step closer to a 'Yes.'  Bad ideas should be seen like a 'No.', each bad idea thrown out gets you one step closer to a good idea.  Plus if you handle them properly you can use them to hone the process that is going to develop the good ideas.  Also what's a bad idea right now with the economy tanking might be a good idea once the economy is picking up again, so throw out the bad ideas but don't forget where you threw them!





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Experience is how you avoid failure, failure is what gives you experience.

terrih's picture

Here is a link to a product called IdeaPaint. You paint the wall with it and then it's a whiteboard.

I haven't tried it, just remembered seeing it.


Patrick80's picture

My suggestion is big white boards or easels with paper pads and lots of markers. Make the questions or comments they are supposed to make lively and start them off. Before the event occurs, add a comment or two to get them started. casino en ligne

Davis Staedtler's picture

Hey mssunshine,

I think you have some great ideas in place. Innovation from within is how 3M discovered the sticky note and Google started it's apps. You probably have already thought of this before getting tactical with your team, but in case you haven't, I've been in the exact same spot as you.  I had to come up with an overall strategy before I began. Instead of spilling my guts on that here, check out the link to my blog about the experience. (I hope it's kosher to share personal blog posts, if not, gimmie feedback :)



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