9 Steps for Establishing Your Employee Engagement Plan

9-steps-for-establishing-your-employee-engagement-plan

You’ve got the best employees on the planet, right? They work hard and are experts in their fields. But, somewhere there is a disconnect. The culture of your organization is not everything it could be, not everything you would like. Is there a way to ensure that your employees hold to the same values you do throughout your department, or the organization? How can you empower your employees, and foster trust, growth, and loyalty? Here are nine ways to fully engage your employees.

Inspiration From the Top

The most important thing that a leader can do to improve employee engagement is to lead by example. Employees must see the owners and executives demonstrating behaviors set forth in the company’s values. They are far more likely to emulate the respected leaders of the organization than live by a disregarded handbook. Managers and business owners should take advantage of collaboration tools such as HR Software when communicating with employees. Opening up communication channels helps employees to feel more valued and inspires better communication from the bottom up.

Read the full article about 9 Steps for Establishing Your Employee Engagement Plan at Innovation Management.

 

Advertisements

5 Ways to Create a Successful Innovation Program

ways-to-create-successful-innovation-program

You’ve heard it a thousand times: companies need to innovate in order to survive. The Googles and the Apples of the world are doing it- Google famously used to require employees to dedicate 20% of their time to innovation. But what exactly does it take to create a sustainable innovation program, especially if you are in an industry that is traditionally risk averse?

As the global workforce is inundated with young, tech-savvy professionals, corporations must embrace the reality that, whether they like it or not, the world has gone social. People are leveraging crowdsourcing for personal forms of communication and entertainment, and crowdsourcing has found a place in the enterprise too.

See full Article about 5 Ways to Create a Successful Innovation Program at Innovation Management.

Also visit our various programs of Online Learning Innovation Programs and also get updated with our latest Articles.

Communicate to Innovate: Tips from the World of Improvisation

Effective communication is at the heart of innovation: harnessing insights from customers, partners and co-workers, sharing ideas, building upon points of view, advocating and gaining support for one’s innovations all require razor sharp communication. Interestingly enough, communicating effectively is a two-way street.

Listening and declaring are the building blocks of any communication exchange; however, if executed poorly, they can make an exchange fall apart. Whether in an improv scene or in a boardroom, the sender and receiver in a conversation must cooperate fully and whole-heartedly. Here are a few tips to help you communicate clearly and effectively as you embark on your innovation journey.

Make a statement

Great listening is not enough to make communication successful: you also need to practice the behavior of declaring, i.e. sending your messages skillfully. By introducing clear information from the very start, you will set your team up for success. For an improviser or a business person, a declaration signals the start of an idea exchange, a collaboration, the creation of something new. It’s a clear, concise way of letting your colleagues know your point of view and what you want to accomplish. A good declaration can be built upon, adapted and used as a springboard for more ideas.

You would be surprised at how often making assumptions and failing to clarify can put us in a mindset of fear.

To read more about “Communicate to Innovate:Tips from the worls of improvisation” visit Innovation Management. Also read our latest articles and our various programs of Online Learning Innovation Programs and Innovation Process.

 

Diversity and Innovation – A Perfect Team

div n innov

Please, not another business imperative! Every time I open a journal or glance at a blog it seems as though the panacea to all business ills has just been discovered and is waiting for me to embrace it! One minute I’m being told to hire for cultural fit, the next to increase diversity. It’s no wonder that employee engagement is falling because if I’m being pushed from pillar to post then it’s not surprising that my people are confused……

Which of us can honestly say hand on heart that thoughts such as these haven’t slunk through our heads in the wee small hours of the night; when we should be resting but our minds are busy with the imperative to do more, be more, and to drive our organisations through to success. And the problem with dark thoughts in the middle of the night is that they come singly, they present themselves as completely individual challenges which have to be conquered one by one.

      1. Collaborating for greatness

Don’t just take the market, shape the market or create entirely new markets”.

So hiring for cultural fit and promoting diversity together can strengthen business prospects. Let’s think for a moment about one of the key elements of a culture of innovation, namely collaboration.

For full Article about Diversity and Innovation- A perfect Team visit Innovation Management

Also have a look on our upcoming topics of Online Learning Innovation Programs and varipos Innovation Process.

Visioning – 7 Essential Characteristics

The process of visioning may seem both daunting and mysterious. Indeed, it is in no way a straightforward method and there are always rocky rapids to navigate. An understanding of the make-up of this journey will create better results for this process to be a success.

Visioning – the process of coming up with breakthrough ideas – is often assumed to be an isolated and instantaneous affair. We have images of the isolated creative genius experiencing a moment of eureka! in the bathtub, or a great vision while fasting in the desert

If creative leadership can enable their teams to work and interact in an open, connected network, this significantly increases the chance of these ‘lucky’ moments. We know that being an extravert does not correlate with being creative, but being connected does.

It is a path but not a straight one

If visioning is a path rather than a moment it is anything but a straight deductive, linear process to a certain outcome. Instead it is a process that ebbs and flows, that often feels like two steps forward and one step back, sometimes even more steps back.

Read more about Visioning – 7 Essential Characteristics at Innovation Management

You can also find such more articles at Innovation Management’s Article Library Section.

25 Steps to Jump-Start your Innovation Journey

We’ve covered some essential ground to help you prepare your innovation journey, and now it’s time to put these concepts into action. The innovation formula addresses the very specific tasks that have to be accomplished for innovation to emerge from your organization not only as a matter of luck or at random, but through a concentrated effort that results in sustained innovation performance. Here you will find the Taking Action steps along with 25 additional suggestions that we hope will help you to think and plan creatively and productively about how to make innovation a reality in your organization.

  • Change and complexity, the external world that seems to be different nearly every day.
  • Risk and the need to come up with great ideas, and to balance potential rewards with the risks that come with striving to attain them.
  • Speed, the imperative to go fast because the external world isn’t waiting around for you or your organization, and your competitors would be happy to seize your market share and make it their own.
  • Engagement, because it takes the observations, expertise, and insights of many people working effectively together to come up with great ideas, and then transform them into working solutions to problems that your customers really do want to solve.
  • Leadership, because no innovations happen without courage, commitment, support, and often resources, and these are elements that you, as leader, must provide in highly visible and emphatic ways.
  • And then tools, which can make the path much easier and faster even if they’re not fancy.

Your Innovation Team

This will be a dynamic group of people from many different backgrounds who have vital roles to play in support of your firm’s innovation management objectives. Without knowing the specifics of your situation, your organization, and the unique challenges you’re facing, please consider the following as a suggestion and a general set of jobs or roles that are useful to the successful pursuit of innovation in a small organization, that is, your company.

Complexity and Change: The Strategy Manager

We began the discussion of your innovation needs, requirements, and opportunities by exploring the driving forces of change that are shaping the world of tomorrow. We talked about technology, science, culture, the population, and climate change, and these broad trends as well as some that may be specific to your industry or your organization present a continually changing panorama that you need to be paying close attention to, for there’s no telling when an external change will lead to a specific requirement or challenge for you.

Getting Started

As you recruit the best people you can find to participate on your innovation team, and work to engage with them as your teammates, colleagues, and fellow travelers on the innovation journey, one of the most important things to remember is that innovation is driven by divergent thinking, which we also know as lateral thinking, and as a leader you must specifically encourage, promote, and indeed insist on the necessity of divergent thinking across all aspects of the work, from the design and management of your innovation efforts, to the conduct of the many ongoing innovation projects.

Read more>>

Four Tools to Support Creativity and Innovation

There are four different types of innovation tools that we’ll describe here, including the design of the work place itself, practices that encourage and even enable effective collaboration, open innovation approach to connect inside innovation teams with outside partners and experts, and online learning tools that constitute the virtual work place. Separately and especially together, these can make a tremendous enhancement in the performance and the satisfaction of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.

The last element of the innovation formula is the tools that enable you, or support you, to produce better innovation outcomes more quickly. This is often a sensitive topic for small businesses, which generally don’t have the resources to provide innovation teams with big work spaces, generous travel budgets, and fancy prototyping tools.

As we were wrapping up the tour, however, one of the facilities leaders who had been our tour guide, and who had been with the company for decades, mentioned that while the new labs were certainly lovely, he noticed that something had been lost over the years. He remembered the early days of the company, which was started in left over Quonset huts from World War II.

The work place

The qualities and characteristics that make Quonset huts and skunkworks so useful is that they’re open, flexible, and no one is inhibited about messing around in them and trying something new.

Unfortunately, the architecture profession and office furniture manufacturers have standardized on this utterly drab and uninspiring concept of what “the physical space” ought to be.

Tom Allen and Gunter Henn address this issue in their lively book about the design of offices: “Most managers will likely acknowledge the critical role played by organizational structure in the innovation process, but few understand that physical space is equally important. It has tremendous influence on how and where communication takes place, on the quality of that communication, and on the movements – and hence, all interactions – of people within an organization. In fact, some of the most prevalent design elements of buildings nearly shut down the opportunities for the organizations that work within their walls to thrive and innovate.

Effective collaboration

To create innovation requires that people engage in exploring new topics, understanding, diagnosing, analyzing, modeling, creating, inventing, solving, communicating, and implementing concepts, ideas, insights, and projects. These attributes are all facets of “learning,” and any organization that thrives in a rapidly changing environment has surely encouraged its members to learn and to apply active learning results to keep up with external changes. Read more at >>

Starting an Innovation Program? A Strategic Approach to Create Success

Many innovation leaders tend to be tactically driven, but their corporate leadership is looking for more strategic planning and analysis. This tension often contributes to high turnover in innovation management roles, based on a misalignment around leadership’s expectations. In this article Anthony Ferrier suggests perspectives and actions that should be considered part of your innovation strategy plan.

In the past couple of weeks I have been asked by some significant organizations (one an Asian-based conglomerate and the other a U.S. Federal Agency) how they should start an innovation effort. Though on the surface different, they share similarities in terms of their large, complex structures, a need to create new ideas and a desire to engage their employees.

Too often I come across organizations that think their first step should be to launch a crowdsourced challenge or campaign. While this can make sense in the context of “testing the waters” and quickly generating some visible activity, more value can be driven by a well-developed strategic plan.

In my experience, many innovation leaders tend to be tactically driven, but their corporate leadership is looking for more strategic planning and analysis. This tension often contributes to high turnover in innovation management roles, based on a misalignment around leadership’s expectations.

What perspectives and actions should be considered as part of an innovation strategy plan?

  • Defining success: What is going to be considered great? On the surface it is a simple question, but by asking this of yourself and your stakeholders, you are generating thoughts and concrete goals around an often nebulous topic. In addition, you are demonstrating that you are driving towards a goal that your stakeholders should have a sense of ownership around. If they agree to the goals, there is more pressure on them to support your drive towards them. Agree the goal and work to exceed it at every point.
  • Leadership support: Considering who would be a great sponsor of your effort and the approaches to generating broader leadership support are essential to driving success. Effective leadership support directs resources towards new idea development, gives employees the permission to innovate and provides a communication platform. Keep in mind, you may not get your desired sponsor initially, but put the goal out there and work towards finding the right person over time. Beyond the single sponsor, it is often worth considering how to engage a broader group of leaders (possibly from specific business units) to guide efforts going forward. These committees or councils can be stand-alone efforts, or align with existing groups that are already in place.
  • Ecosystem mapping and integrating: Within large organizations it is rare that a single group or individual controls all innovative activity. As part of this planning process it is important to understand the various innovation activities and actions within the organization (read more on this here). More broadly, beyond that they should build processes and approaches to support continued communication and leverage, with a goal of partnership or integration of efforts.
  • Scale of ideas: Understand the size and scope of ideas that you are looking to generate and assess how you will be able to develop thrm. By first considering the back-end implementation of ideas, you will make more informed decisions about front-end activities. In addition, this perspective needs to include not just what individual ideas will look like, but what makes up an actively managed idea pipeline.
  • Scope of input: Decide which stakeholder groups should have input to innovative activities. Do you want to focus efforts on a small sub-segment of employees, or reach out to a broader range? Is a specific business unit or region important to your success, or not? Do you want to focus on internal resources, or seek input / support by partners externally? Deciding on appropriate stakeholders will help define the type of activities undertaken.
  • Activity planning: There is an infinite variety of activities that organizations can use to generate new ideas, and hopefully get them executed effectively. Including an outline of the various activities that an innovation program may look to launch is essential. It may also help to include an honest assessment of costs, expected impact, stakeholder involvement and plans to improve and scale over time.
  • Resourcing management: Most innovation efforts that I work with, whether in a large or small organizations, have limited resources to support their efforts. Including directions and thoughts around the sourcing and allocation of resources will help frame your planning. It is also worth considering unconventional approaches to securing resources, including supporting employee networks and broader crowdsourcing efforts.
  • Multi-year perspective: With these plans it is important to set out a multi-year approach to innovation development. Generally activities start smaller and build over time, assuming agreed performance targets are being achieved. Beyond year-1 the planning can be kept vague, but this kind of approach emphasizes that this is not a passing initiative or corporate fad.
  • Goals and metrics: I have talked about this in the past, but I can’t emphasize the importance of focusing on the development of specific metrics for any innovative activity.

This is clearly a lot of information, and the resulting document that outlines your plan could be as long as you want it to be. In a previous life as a corporate strategist I found that every time I put together a word document, it was essentially for my own reference (no one would ever read it, despite my best nagging efforts). I do have a great innovation program business plan template in PPT, so feel free to reach out to me directly if you want me to send you a copy (Anthony@culturevate.com).