4 Reasons to Train Your Workforce in Innovation

In order to better help our customers who are running innovation programs, IdeaScale does a great deal of research into our customer’s goals, usage, organization, and performance and this year we were startled by one of the trends that we discovered in our customer data. Even though IdeaScale customers are reaching out to their entire workforce in order to source new ideas and build and connect concepts between those ideas, the majority of IdeaScale’s user base has not been trained in innovation best practices.

 

 Survey results on a question “Is your workforce trained in innovation best practices?”. Survey conducted by IdeaScale, GIM Institute software partner

 

This isn’t necessarily a unique problem as innovation training definitely isn’t de rigeur for every organization (yet!), but we thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss the value of training your workforce in innovation.

Building Innovation Culture. It is not enough to simply list “innovation” as one of your company values –  you have to demonstrate your commitment to this value by showcasing examples of it in action, celebrating innovation successes, and investing in it. One of the best ways to make this investment at the individual level is to make sure that your employees can learn about and train in this new discipline. This is a skill set that they can use at the workplace every day, but also something that will serve them well throughout their careers.

Shared Language, Shared Mission. Sometimes one of the best ways to make innovation an ongoing conversation is to give everyone in an environment a shared language for innovation. If they understand what makes a good idea, if they understand how they can impact and develop young ideas, if they understand how to take meaningful risks and enjoy that process, then it’s far more likely that they will bring this into their day-to-day routine.

Innovation Input KPI. One of the ways to measure your innovation performance is to report on the percentage of the workforce that is trained in innovation. You can watch your progress over time and make innovation training part of new employee onboarding in order to constantly add to your workforce’s skill set. It’s also a good opportunity to start tracking your innovation output to see if the two metrics influence one another.

Improve Employee Engagement. Disengaged employees cost the US between $450 – $550 billion each year. Training your employees in innovation is a signal to them that they are personally invested and involved in your company’s mission and its progress into the future. This level of trust heightens an employee’s sense of responsibility and can be a major mode of empowerment – a great preventative against disengaged employees.

 

And especially if you are thinking about crowdsourced innovation, it will improve your overall program performance as employees level-up their idea quality, their participation levels, and their innovation sentiment.  How do you plan to train your workforce in innovation?

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About IdeaScale

IdeaScale is the official GIM Institute software partner (GIMI Partners).

It is the largest cloud-based innovation software platform in the world with more than 25,000 customers and 4.5 million users. The software allows organizations to involve the opinions of public and private communities by collecting their ideas and giving users a platform to vote. The ideas are then evaluated, routed, and implemented, making IdeaScale the engine of crowd-powered innovation. IdeaScale’s client roster includes industry leaders, such as Citrix, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, NASA, the New York City Police Department, Princess Cruises and many others.