In previous posts we reflected on where to look for new ideas. In this one, we analyze how organizations take advantage of most likely the best source of new ideas: their experienced employees.
We are convinced that the most powerful assets a company can count on to prosper is the knowledge from experienced workers. However, companies seem to have problems to take advantage of this big and accessible potential.
On one side, in this time of economic crisis, companies are under pressure to reduce costs. A quick way to do so is by getting rid of talented employees with high salaries, hoping for the creativity of new hires, younger and with lower salaries.
On another side, company systems of norms and procedures may become so heavy that it enormously frustrates the talented experience workers when undertaking entrepreneurial initiatives to develop their ideas. As a consequence they end up leaving the company frustrated to try on their own, free from that burden.
Is there a win-win solution to avoid losing this source of innovative ideas? There are examples of different approaches to different solutions.
Many companies work on building a stronger Culture of Innovation to empower entrepreneurial employees to unleash their latent potential. This takes time, requiring rigor and perseverance from management, supporting the entrepreneurial behaviors of their employees, letting them try new approaches, learning from their failures and celebrating their successes (Procter & Gamble and Unilever base their successes on product and marketing innovations).
Other companies decide to take faster and riskier routes. Some of them spin off a new company separated both physically and procedurally (IBM, Mapfre Insurances). Others provide the funds to the leaving employee to start up a new company on their own, keeping in return the first right to purchase if successful (Google, Intel).
Do you have any successful experience to share in either case, or in a different one?