Engage

Breathe some life into the Flywheel by involving a larger crowd.

Engagement is about going from just a goal to making it real. How are you going to get people involved in the innovation process?

It’s about planning and making sure that your innovation gets the attention and engagement it needs to reach your KPIs.

Define Rewards

Now that you’ve got your greenlight and you’re ready to engage people take a moment to consider what kind of rewards you want to offer Contributors to maximize or focus engagement.

  • Research shows that in the long run intrinsic (purpose driven) rewards fare better for innovation purposes than extrinsic (monetary) rewards. 
  • Extrinsic rewards might lead to higher engagement numbers the first time but they do create pressure that hinders creativity and they permanently damage engagement over time as expectations rise.
  • Instead, focus mainly on no rewards at all or rewards and celebrations that tie back to the bigger purpose.
  • Don’t cast to narrow a net either. If only the winning idea gets something this might keep people from submitting their ideas if they underestimate their idea.
  • Encouraging a friendly competition between teams, departments or geographic regions can boost engagement too - even without rewards.

Still want to do an extrinsic reward? Take a look at these https://ideas.lego.com/guidelines for inspiration. They are a classic model that has proven to work for them.

Plan Outreach

You know you’re allowed to collect ideas from your Contributors and what type of reward your are offering. Now walk through how you are going to reach out and engage your Contributors.

  • You have a good starting point with a lot of ground covered but you still need to ensure that idea submission is as easy, clearly communicated and accessible as possible.
  • Meet people where they are. If you want to collect ideas from people don’t ask them to install an app or follow instruction - be in their face. Send them a link, put up a poster or add a widget to the website or intranet they are already visiting.
  • Tell a story. If you want to make a splash having some strong visuals and a strong story helps. Add a Description, a Cover image and maybe even record a short personal video with the Initiator.
  • Be transparent. If possible add a small FAQ or about page somewhere for people that want to know more about the purpose, the team behind, the rewards or the newest stats.

Get Sign-Off

You are potentially going to involve a lot of people. Before you do, it’s best practice to get a final sign-off from stakeholders. You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes and want to make sure that what you are doing is seen as within the company’s goals.

Remember, if you don’t then this can erode your position and the perception of innovation in the company over time.

You should make the sign-off happen but can involve the Initiator when needed. Depending on how many contributors you plan to involve, how flat your organization is and how defined your processes are this can turn out to be anything from a fast and simple green light to a drawn out negotiation between departments.

But don’t worry. Getting innovation greenlit should not be a problem. Innovation is a top-three management priority for almost two-thirds of companies. 

CEO at Ideanote