The elements of Innovation

Trust: to make people comfortable about sharing their ideas with the organization. They need to feel they can make mistakes without suffering undue consequences.

Management buy-in: Management must demonstrate their commitment to innovation through internal and external communications media. Management must also demonstrate being creative themselves; as well as a willingness to try out creative, yet risky ideas.

Budget: is necessary to implement highly creative or disruptive ideas, which by nature are more risky than less creative ideas. Money must also be found for investing for tools (see below) that facilitate idea sharing and development and training in the use of those tools.

Tools: such as an idea management tool for soliciting, capturing and evaluating ideas from the employees. Used well, an idea management tool is the best on-going tool for idea capture. Also useful are creative project teams, brainstorming sessions, mind-mapping tools and other items which facilitate creative thinking and collaboration.

Evaluation methods: are necessary for evaluating ideas generated by the tools. Many tools, such as idea management systems, include evaluation components.

Facilities: including meeting rooms, other spaces where people can meet and share ideas, white boards, post-its, pens and other things which facilitate creative meetings and brainstorming.

Rewards: Whether recognition, small gifts or granting special privileges, some kind of fair reward scheme motivates people to share their creative ideas with the organization.

Time: Employees need time to be creative.

How all of these components come together will vary from firm to firm. What is important is that these components exist, that there is flexibility.

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