Social, collaborative innovation, powered by the wisdom of the workforce is like a golden goose – it can produce great value, but only if the conditions are just right. You need the right workforce, motivated and aligned in just the right way.
Innovation communities hosted on enterprise social networks are great as a dedicated space for sharing and discussing interesting problems and solutions that relate to the business, but only if they can achieve a critical mass of participation and not fall into disuse.
So what can we do to make sure our innovation communities don’t become ghost towns?
Foster emotional safety throughout the workforce.
Emotional safety in the workplace, alongside accountability, is essential. Accountability ensures we contribute, but accountability without emotional safety means we fear failure and can lead people to ‘play it safe’ with their ideas.
Align targets and objectives of individuals with the strategic objectives of the wider organisation.
If individuals feel that their creative contributions to the wider organisation will have a direct positive impact on their own standing within that organisation, they will be naturally more motivated to contribute beyond the scope of their job description.
Allow contributions to become routine
Making innovation a routine on a personal level isn’t too complex: set aside time, talk to the right people, embrace failure and think in incremental steps. It is then the job of the organisation, and its leadership, to enable these practices amongst its employees.
Here are some links that delve further into community-led innovation and encouraging contribution above and beyond the remit of our job descriptions: