Most companies, if they solicit employee ideas at all, essentially just set up a suggestion box, which employees know from experience is where ideas go to die. So nothing happens. But innovation is not an option—it’s the key to survival. And innovation needs new ideas. So where are those ideas going to come from? Using numerous examples, Robinson and Schroeder argue that the employees who interact directly with your customers, make your products, and provide your services are in the best position to see where problems exist and what improvements and new offerings would have the most impact.
Robinson and Schroeder explain how leaders can build the kind of idea-driven company capable of implementing fifty to a hundred or more ideas per employee per year. Drawing on their work with companies worldwide, they show what’s needed to put together a management team open to grassroots innovation and describe the strategies, policies, and practices that encourage—and those that discourage—employee ideas. They detail exactly how high-performing idea processes work and how to design one customized for your organization—including advice for teaching people how to come up with new ideas. The best ideas may come from the bottom, but they have to be systematically solicited from the top.