Mark raises an interesting question that comes from the Boardroom Inc. examples in Ideas Are Free. Boardroom requires every employee to offer a minimum of two ideas each week, or the employee loses his or her quarterly bonus. While no one has ever missed a bonus, one of the results of the policy is an active black market in ideas. When an employee is short an idea one week, he or she borrows one from a colleague, and pay it back later.
I don’t know if this black market in ideas has led to other nefarous dealings, but the policy that spawned it has created an environment where ideas are truly valued. Recently, Boardroom moved to a new location. During the move and readjustment period – a year in all – the two ideas per week policy was dropped. The result that was reported to us was that ideas still ran at about a 70% level, and quality of the ideas was better.