Fast Company

Distributing Idea Development

Fast Company cofounding editor William Taylor penned a useful piece for Sunday's edition of the International Herald Tribune. Entitled "Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas," the article concentrates on the innovation practices of Rhode Island-based Rite-Solutions.

One interesting project at the company is an internal ideas market in which employees invest in conceptual stocks. These investments are in effect votes for which initiatives get formal recognition, backing, and leverage.

How do you solicit, identify, and give the nod to the best new ideas where you work?

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4 Comments

  • Matson Breakey (matsonian)

    A QuickPlanner Plus, since our software is about idea development, we encourage all new ideas to be vetted using QuickPlanner Plus. If it can be defined using this tool, then it has proven itself as worth pursuing. Any ideas we don't pursue, become the subject of another blog for some other enterprising individual to pursue.

  • Jennifer Humphreys

    I agree that interesting and profitable ideas can come from anywhere and anyone in the organization. One of the biggest problems with idea generation programs is not coming up with the ideas, but the process by which those ideas are vetted. Great ideas frequently vanish sometime in the approval process and the originator never knows what happened or why it was killed. One of the great things about the internal stock market idea is the transparency of the process - everyone can see the stock price. Our programs also have an entirely transparent process while allowing specialists in various fields to comment on the idea's feasibility. If the idea can not be implemented imeediately because of technology restrictions, for example, it may be possible to back-burner it and pull it out when the technological challenge has been solved.

  • Stephen Shapiro

    Interesting article. To encourage idea generation, at several clients, we have used "reality TV shows" to stimulate interest. For example, at Quill (a division of Staples), we created a competition called the Quillionaire. It ran much like The Apprentice. Other companies have used variations on "American Idol." The idea was to make innovation fun. Looking "silly" or "failing" was never a problem in these events. This helped people loosen up, helping generate even better ideas. We also used technology and "communities" to bring these concepts to the masses. You can find an article about this on my website.