Innovation Day at Claromentis

Last Friday we had an innovation day at  Claromentis and the result is a thought provoking issue for me. I don’t post that often about business, but this one really got me thinking.

Basically the engineering team – Desing, Dev, Testing – had a day off away from the demands of scheduled tasks to work on anything they felt like – perhaps a project they had been thinking about but never had the time to do, or new technology that they felt could help our platform. We then scheduled a meeting at the end of the day where anyone could present their idea – along with free beers. Great way to spend a Friday..

As this was our first try at this we didn’t really make a big deal of it, just scheduled it and let people respond as they wished. The results were really amazing – we had 6 great ideas presented to us, with a lot of the outline work done and shown to the team. They were incredibly varied – and I have to say all of them, without exception, were good and valid concepts.

So what’s the issue? Simply that we now have to find a way to select one or two for further development, and I need to do that without discouraging everyone else! Its one of those occasions where you just don’t want to select any winners – you want to give everyone time – and therefore resources – to keep working on their concept.

Sometimes competition produces an unwelcome side effect – someone has to lose. Like any business we have limited resources  .. any ideas how to encourage everyone but still select just one idea to be carried on, potentially into production?



4 thoughts on “Innovation Day at Claromentis”

  1. Hi Nigel
    Simon and Alex’s suggestions are very good. Once they ‘step back’ from their ideas and having had a week for them to internally reflect on what has emerged, you may like to ask of each idea (ask it of each idea, not the person) what difference will this idea/project make to – Claromentis, your customers, prospects, staff and future revenues? Mindful as ever on the cost and time required for each idea.
    And then after looking again at each idea, ask, what do we now know that we did not know before?
    Insights and knowledge emerge and once the team have seen this, and indeed allowed for new knowledge to emerge, then I expect that a consensus will emerge.
    It’s as important to be listened to as well as having your idea picked. At the end of the day I also think that your gut instinct will help you make the ‘selection’. That’s why you are the leader.

  2. 6 viable ideas from one day sounds like a great result from an innovative team!

    How about going one step further and asking the idea contributors as a team to come up with a prioritisation method, and agree the one or two of the ideas which would be best for the business to develop right now. (That’s not to say the others are not valuable, it’s just a question of timing and priorities).

  3. I agree Simon – we started exactly that poll on our intranet home page as soon as the meeting finished.
    Predictably – as all the ideas were so varied and good in their own way – the results are pretty even! However at this moment one idea is one vote in front!!
    Thanks for your feedback – much appreciated.

    Incidentally I posed this question on a CEO forum in LinkedIn – it will be interesting to see what responses I get there..

  4. It’s all about management..
    I’d invite all participants to vote for another persons work or idea. They can’t vote for their own idea. The one with most votes, get considered more seriously above others. Therefore the majority are buying in to the idea.

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