Recently we rolled out a new forum to our employees. We call it the Innovation Forum and it has a few goals that we hope to accomplish through it. The first is to provide a means for employees to bring real life problems they are facing on their project to a place where they can get advice and ideas from other employees that are currently on other projects. The second goal, and the most exciting goal to me is to identify innovative ideas that we as a company may someday pursue. The forum was the idea of one of our employees who had an idea that people could bring their ideas to this forum to use other resources to help solve real problems they are facing.
As soon as he mentioned the concept to me, my mind raced to something that Google does with it’s staff. They allow their employees one day a month to work on pet projects. These projects could have nothing to do with their project. They can even have nothing to do with what the company currently does. Now as a small company we obviously can’t pay people to spend an entire day a month working on non company related ideas. But what we can do is entice them to think outside the box and share their ideas with us. I know we employ intelligent individuals that have good ideas. I believe that they just don’t have an avenue to share those ideas or maybe think that nobody cares about them.
Our Innovation Forum is basically our way of saying that we do care about your ideas. And on top of that we will give you awards just for sharing ideas with us. When an employee sends us an idea we give out gift cards to reward them for just thinking outside the box. Many ideas may die right there. This is fine. Others however, may get us thinking that it may be something we could actually pursue as a company. These ideas will come to the forum and be reviewed by a group of resources. The goal of that review is to brainstorm on the idea and develop a mini business case on the idea. If it ends up being something that we decide to pursue as a company, we will work with that individual to come to an agreement on what role they would like to play in that process. The forum has just started out over the past month and we have already started to receive some ideas that we are currently reviewing. We are very excited about this Forum and think it will bring some great ideas to our company!
Geoff is the CEO of integrateIT (http://www.integrateit.net). integrateIT strives to provide innovative solutions to organizations within the public and private sectors in the Washington, DC metro area and beyond. We aim to supply clients with qualified, energetic resources that foster both a winning team attitude and a wealth of technical and management expertise. integrateIT strives to add value to clients by successfully completing projects within budget, scope, and schedule requirements