“I don’t know if I was particularly smart, but I know I was passionately curious,” Albert Einstein said. The idea box is an old concept, of course. But it is supposed to stimulate the growth of the company, the creativity of the employees, and the curiosity of all. Nice dream. How do we make it a reality?
A Short History Of The Idea Box
In the old days, La Poste (1921) had set up an urn in the workplace to involve all employees in the company: improving the organization, suggestions for new developments, etc. In many cases, however, the box in question was just used to declare displeasure anonymously.
In the 1980s, IBM implemented a global “Suggestion Box” program, all institutions had a box surveyed weekly, all suggestions were reviewed by a national committee, and those that were adopted, if they were led to savings or gains by compensating the authors for up to 10% of this gain.
Today, tools dedicated to collaborative feedback exist. The idea box can therefore, on the face of it, take its main purpose: the collection of innovative ideas.
Moreover, the cardboard idea box is now digital, most of the time. Does it really work?
The Idea Box In The Digital Age
The digital idea box is usually managed by feedback management software, such as that the I Feedback Now Solution. Companies like BNP Paribas, Bouygues Telecom, Maif… just as SMEs have adopted this type of 2.0 scheme.
To set up an effective idea box, 5 steps are needed, or at least advised:
- Defining which audience will be the “inspiration”: Is it all employees? Or just managers? Or your own customers?
- Write the questionnaire: to be able to organize the ideas, and not miss out on nuggets, structure your mini-quiz. Why not sort ideas into big themes? For example, if we are talking about HR: management/task organization/work environment…
- Make regular reports of the ideas collected. Indeed, the big flaw of the idea box is that it is mute. Or, more specifically, it only speaks to you, who have access to the dashboard. You don’t know what other employees think about an idea: ask them!
- Finally, of course, measure the impact of ideas: on your turnover, on the atmosphere and the quality of work… This will only be more motivating. Also consider thanking and rewarding the most active contributors.
The Pitfalls To Avoid
Idea boxes can be totally unproductive. Here are some mistakes to avoid:
- Not favouring volunteering, and oblige contributors: the approach must remain VO-LON-TAI-RE! The risk? “Block” the creativity and initiative of your staff. Spare them the anguish of the white sheet…
- To think that an idea box is enough to be innovative. The idea box is just one tool among many. Why not supplement it with “inspirational workshops” as at Brandos (Swedish company, online shoe sales)? The principle is simple: dedicate entire meetings to ideation, inviting in particular external speakers: sociologists, lecturers, philosophers… Inspiration is everywhere!
- Forget to reward your contributors. consequence? Unfortunately, you may have less and less… Gift vouchers, stays, employee visibility on your site, etc. are your best allies! In its suggestion program that we cime above, IBM made a technician earn a real fortune because he had suggested a very simple device based on guilands to remove static electricity from printers and thus avoid 50% of paper jams with their maintenance intervention cost, this ‘image’ of the jackpot has animated the program for decades
By avoiding the above errors, you will benefit from the full power of this management indicator.
Why Letting Yourself Be Convinced By The Idea (Box)…
- Because it is a significant first step towards collaborative innovation. Suggestions can be communicated, linked, noted by colleagues before entering “in application”.
- Depending on your field of activity, a form of an idea box is essential. For example, in a design/graphic design company, a weekly meeting may take place. During this one, a designer presents about 30 slides, illustrating inspiring trends. The same is true in the field of photography, architecture, advertising…
- The interactive “idea boxes” link to our terminals page are simple and quick to set up near the relaxation areas next to the coffee machines… a place of creativity!
Because it’s an asset for your turnover. For example, 70% of the Poult Group’s growth is the result of innovation (and therefore the ideas of employees, according to this article.
- Because it’s simple and quick to set up, especially if you trust us…
Contact us now to learn more about our offerings around collaborative innovation! We’re waiting for you!