Building an Idea Factory

Edward de Bono, the world expert in creativity told group of business people that if executives were evaluated by the amount of wasted brainpower in their organisations, few would still have their jobs.
His point, says ideas champion, Ed Bernacki, is “if employee creativity and brainpower were visible commodity, we’d all see how weak we are at harnessing the potential that exists in our organisations”.
With this in mind, Bernacki’s book Wow! What good idea! is powerful toolkit to help any organisation generate and manage its innovative thinking.
Wow! What great idea! is based on the fact that many of our best ideas are already inside our companies, and what’s missing is the process to harness, nurture and act on these ideas.
With step-by-step plan, Bernacki outlines how you can shape more innovative organisation with chapters that include – how to find your ideas, setting up an Idea Factory in your organisation, and getting business results from your ideas.
Bernacki who writes, consults and champions innovation in organisations around the world, says he believes in Albert Einstein’s philosophy when he said, “You can’t solve problem with the same thinking that created it.”
Bernacki’s golden rules for getting the most out of your organisation include:

1.Listen to people
Listen when they comment, criticise, offer suggestions or ask questions. Respond positively.
It’s said that for every customer who complains another nine stay silent. Don’t silence the one who dares to speak up. The same applies for staff offering ideas. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your composure if someone is complaining. Understand where their anger and frustration comes from. The best thing is to listen, understand their concerns and thank them for their comments. Don’t be patronising or defensive. Many tremendous opportunities have been wasted with comments such as “what’s wrong with the way we do it around here?”

2.Seek out ideas people
Seek out employees, suppliers, customers and others who are ideas people. Develop networks of people who can contribute to wide variety of perspectives to your issues, business or organisation. Look for enthusiastic people who are prepared to think about situations and make decisions. Employees or customers who challenge the status quo aren’t the enemy – they’re your best allies. They’re the source of your new insights and ideas.

3.Respect ideas
Support and respect ideas that are generated. Give credit where and when it’s due. You want to generate ideas that get business results, and not every idea is workable from the start. So support the initiatives because people who make suggestions take risk. Sometimes they don’t explain it very well so encourage them, and don’t let your ignorance get in the way of what might be great idea.

4.Be committed
Commit to the process of finding ideas for the ongoing success of your business and its people.
The Idea Factory you adopt will just be another fad if you don’t build it into the culture. Sometimes the best result may be better understanding of particular aspect of the business. Other times it may be new service you can launch.

5.Give ideas
Give ideas to others knowing that you will be rewarded in turn.
If you see an opportunity that customer, supplier or anyone else could use, take the initiative to tell them. The same applies for problems. Encourage discussion. At minimum you may develop supporter who can refer business to you.
Develop culture where your programmes create the right environment to support people who come up with new ideas.

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