A company’s culture cannot change overnight – it is a long and hard road to get it right. It can only be changed by implementing a seeding technique. A company has to make small changes, sow the seeds, and put them into the best possible environment. Then, they must be patient and wait for the fruits to materialize in the future. There is no single solution for this either. What works for one company will not necessarily work for others. So, there is no choice but to take these seeds and sow them. Some will grow and others will not.
We’ve talked about implementing a culture of innovation before, but here we’ll discuss each step. Within our Seeds of a Culture of Innovation series, today we’ll talk about how to approve and select the ideas generated.
“Sow seeds of innovation within your culture.”
Selecting Ideas Using Collective Intelligence
For decades, around the world, when an innovative idea emerges, it enters the flow of the company hierarchy. For some reason, only the hierarchy has the ability to filter through the promising ideas of others. This process has remained largely unchanged for many organizations. Until now.
Now we understand the potential of collective intelligence. No matter how skilled a person is, at any time they will have a wealth of useful knowledge, accumulated experience, and intuition. Paired with a group of people with diverse cognitive experience, the possibilities for innovation are endless.
So, this is the first of our seeds of a culture of innovation to plant: making collective intelligence the first filter of ideas.
This can achieve:
A more efficient first filter.
Involve everyone in the innovation process.
Improve employee engagement.
Improve the initial idea thanks to the contribution of other people.
Once an idea has received the support of the group and possibly improved, it will have to go through another filter composed of a group of experts. We will discuss this seed in further detail in another article.
These are some of the typical questions that come up when trying to implement this seed:
Q: When selecting the good and the bad ideas, we run the risk of losing ideas that have a lot of potential. But it seems that only a specialist or someone with an expert vision would be able to detect them.
A: True, collective intelligence isn’t intended to achieve 100% reliability in terms of selection. It’s unreasonable to have these expectations for it, and we know that scientifically, collective intelligence is more efficient than idea selection by only one person, even if they are an expert, or by a small group, especially if they share the same profile.
Additionally, there are many important collateral benefits that affect the workplace culture. In turn, this boosts employee engagement. Our goal is not only to improve the selection process, but to change our culture.
On the other hand, a previously discarded idea can always be rescued by a specialist. If you can get the idea to reach a specialist and they have the ability to revive it, old ideas can still succeed.
From our experience here at Nextinit, this is something that happens often. Not only can people publish their ideas freely (breaking the restraints of the hierarchy). But collective intelligence can provide the first filter for ideas. At the same time, it can give experts the ability to “rescue” these ideas and carry them out later.
Q: Most people don’t have the strategic vision of the company that managers might have. As a result, their selection filters surely choose ideas that may not align with that vision.
A: This can be true. But that’s not because people aren’t able to make the right choices that their managers do. It’s because the information simply hasn’t been able to reach them. If the whole organization knew what these strategic objectives were, this would no longer be a problem. And while it’s true that collective intelligence serves as the initial filter, it will always be necessary to follow the guidance of real experts.
For example, let’s consider the case of a product upgrade. There are many customers who are willing to buy the upgraded version of an existing product. If this wasn’t the case, the idea may never have existed in the first place. Or, it may be worth working with a group composed of experts who don’t see it and other profiles that have seen something of value in it.
When companies use Nextinit, the organization must publish its strategic priorities. By doing so, not only does the entire organization communicate transparently, but when someone has an idea, they must explain how it aligns with their objectives. This solves the previous problem, and it also helps inform everyone of the direction their idea is going in.
In conclusion, we now know how to sow the first seed of a culture of innovation in our organization. This is the first step in providing companies with a more effective way to select the most promising innovation ideas. What more could you need?