There are many ways to incentivize more innovation in your company. The normal methods of suggestion boxes and surveys may not be getting you the results that you wish. As we often discuss, innovation is the largest need in most companies.

One example of a group that jump-started its innovation ideas is Adobe Systems. We all know Adobe for its software products and viewers, so its innovation needs are very high. How did the company change to improve? It offered everyone with an idea $1,000 to develop and present the proven idea. See this video for more information.

Many times it seems that we treat  innovation as something engineering or research is solely responsible for. The idea behind this small funding of ideas is to make sure the culture and the employees know that everyone is in charge of innovation. More ideas are better than a few, and many times the best ideas are developed from simple ideas.

But what if our industry and your company used this method?  What if the employees wasted the money? What if almost all of the ideas failed? These are all good things for your improvement. If the money is wasted, it is unlikely that no progress was made on the original idea. If only a couple ideas turn into winners and 100 failed, your only cost was the investment to find out what does not work, and you can use these examples as paths to success. Adobe’s VP of Creativity (great title!) gives even more detail about the program that you can download in this video.

Adobe has noted the following as a result of this program.

“One of our goals was to increase our failure rate. We felt like our failure rate was too low, we weren’t being bold enough in exploring new opportunities on new horizons.Every idea looks like a bad idea to start with. But if you have a large number of bad ideas, combine them and iterate on them, that’s how you get to a good idea.At the end, when you run out of money, you need to take your experimental data to the executives to get more money to continue. Only one person (in their case, out of 600) needs to say yes in order for you to get the next stage of funding. Every executive has the power to say yes, none of them have the power to say no. Some of the most powerful situations for people who went through the process were when individuals stood in front of the executives and announced that ‘data demonstrates that my idea was terrible and we shouldn’t pursue it.’ Executives then stand up an applaud. Why? Because this person got concrete data and insights in a matter of weeks and for a very small budget, which could have previously taken a dedicated team months and thousands more to find the same answer. It’s a massive saving.”

I highly encourage you to try this program and tweak it to fit your company culture. It is free to download and try, so please start the program and let us know how it goes.

Keep innovating!


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