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How to harness employees' knowledge to generate new ideas

Read about what is crucial to obtaining targeted ideas that will work in practice.
If you have tried inviting your employees or colleagues to come up with good ideas, you may have experienced getting something different than what you hoped for. Maybe you didn't get as much as you expected, or perhaps the ideas were very vague and resembled more problems and new goals than solutions. For example, "we need to be more well-known" or "we need to collaborate better" or "we need to be more lean" – it's hard to disagree with those, but also challenging to translate into something concrete.

When that happens, it is often because we have invited people to "contribute ANYTHING" and said that ALL good ideas are welcome. Most of us think it is important NOT to impose any restrictions, as we might risk overlooking or excluding something.

The truth is, being creative, constructive, and specific is difficult when EVERYTHING is open-ended, and as a result, very little new emerges. This doesn't mean that employees CANNOT come up with valuable suggestions. On the contrary, they are the ones who know the customers, processes, and products best.

If you want to involve employees and translate their knowledge into tangible improvements, there are two things you need to be mindful of:

Firstly, you need to be very clear about the CHALLENGE for which you want suggestions. For example, "How can we retain more customers" or "How can we avoid errors in order processing."

Secondly, you need to be aware that the ideas do not exist in advance. If they did, you would have already heard them. What exists in employees' minds is a wealth of knowledge, insights, and experience. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a process that transforms that knowledge into proposals that you can implement.

At Benelizer® Innovation Workshop, we have a clear process that guarantees the translation of employees' knowledge into concrete solutions for a relevant challenge. It ensures solution proposals with real benefits – proposals that can be implemented and will work in practice, with high ownership and support right from the start.
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