Reversing Your Company’s Shrinking Lifespan

By: Planbox

 

We are all living longer than we used to but the companies we work for are not. Corporate life expectancy is at a serious decline. Our life expectancy has increased by almost 30% in the last 80 years but corporate life expectancy has fallen by almost 500% in the same period. This rapid rate of decline started in the 60s and has continued on a downward trend since the 90s (see diagram below: “The Evolution of Corporate Versus Human Life Spans”). The forecast shows more of the same well beyond 2020. In short, business as usual is no longer an option.

human-being-companies-lifespan

In the Age of Information, organizations discovered the need to implement an ERP system to help establish a system of record for financial information to bring order to chaos. In the Age of the Customer, organizations adopted powerful CRM solutions as a system of record for customer information. Despite these important investments the rate of corporate life expectancy decline has been persistent (see diagram below: “Average Company Lifespan on S&P 500 Index “) as organizations continue to look to find a solution to the root cause and find the path to sustainable repeatable success. It’s time for business as unusual.

average-lifespan-company-sp500

In this Age of Innovation, organizations have to think long and hard about how they can build an engine to continue to grow and transform their business to solicit creative ideas and turn them into winning projects. Organizations need to embrace a system of record for work and innovation. The new market realities also dictate a stronger focus on a versatile system of engagement to help inspire, involve, retain and amaze those we interact with inside or outside the organization.

system-of-record-ages

Replacing the proverbial suggestion box is not the answer and collaboration solutions that do not create structure or purpose will not yield enduring results. There is a real opportunity for organizations to create a distinct competitive advantage by making the appropriate investment to bring the right discipline and structure that allows them to tap the collective knowledge of their employees, partners, suppliers and community.

This new system of record and engagement should support a wide range of innovation activities and work management. To support innovation activities including open innovation, crowd-sourcing and challenge-driven events which can involve large communities of users to more targeted innovation activities that focus on a particular segments or demographics. Experimentation must also be facilitated through an agile work management approach to quickly test and appraise retained ideas.

Some organizations get overly obsessed with unrealistic participation targets. Much like other enterprise systems such an ERP or CRM system are not necessarily used by everyone all the time what matters is how you are able to leverage an innovation management system to consistently target the various audiences to help create the right innovation conversations, engagement and connections.

Benjamin Franklin notable quote “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” is spot on but for many corporations their tomorrow is uncertain and although it is a dark observation the reality is many may be living on borrowed time unless they fundamentally change their innovation trajectory.

I agree with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s view that “The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” What is your organization doing to pave the way for a better tomorrow?

 

About the Planbox:

Planbox is the pioneering provider of cloud-based Agile Work Innovation software solutions. Planbox mission is to help organizations thrive by transforming the culture of agile work, continuous innovation and creativity across the entire organization. Our family of products include Collaborative Innovation Management and Work Management applications. Planbox is designed to be the work and innovation tool for everyone, built for companies and teams of all sizes and trusted by some of the world’s most recognized brands including Bridgestone, CGI, Nestlé, Sempra Energy, Starbucks, Stanford, Philips, The Salvation Army and Verizon with millions of internal and external users.

Communicating Your Innovation Program

By: Planbox

 

Like everything else in today’s business environment getting your message across is key. Whether you are marketing a new offering, an internal memo to your staff for new business objectives, or technical specs for a an exciting invention, having a proper communications plan in place is essential to getting your message across. With that in mind, having a cohesive communications plan in place for an Innovation program is critical for the long term success of innovation within your organization.

In Order to communicate your Innovation program to your staff there are 4 main stages to structuring your communication plan. These stages are;

  1. Pre-Launch
  2. Launch
  3. Post Launch
  4. Challenge Driven Communications

 

Pre-Launch

Pre-Launch communications is one of the most important phases. If an organization is launching an innovation program (for the first time) it is vital that senior management communicate to its employees what their expectations are for the program. Employees should be advised of the goals for the program and how they are expected to contribute to the innovation initiative. Measurable targets should be set, and this information should be shared with all staff members. Measurable targets would include items such as expected cost savings in dollars (or percentage of revenue), revenue generating goals and improvements to existing processes (in terms of time saving).

Rather than communicating your program with an e-mail, go back to the basics. Use posters in areas frequented by employees. Have merchandise such as coffee mugs and pens with the url to the innovation platform. Company newsletters are also an excellent vehicle to create buzz around the upcoming program.

 

Launch

The day has arrived! You are ready to go live with your innovation program. At this phase of communications you want to change the focus on what tools you will be using and what the submitter should expect in terms of her user experience. Highlight the process. What actions will trigger email notifications, what are the different stages of your process and what is the time frame for these stages. It is important that the user knows what their expectations are and when they should be advised of changes to the stages of their submission. It is very important that the user understands the process and does not feel that submitting an idea will just go into a black hole.

 

Post Launch

During this phase you want to communicate the successes realized as a result of your program. Show how an employee’s suggestion resulted in savings, improved a process or generated additional revenue. For a innovation program to be successful transparency is key. If there are changes to the innovation process or awards structure make sure that these changes are communicated in a timely fashion. Make Sure a user’s expectation are met at all times.

Additionally you innovation software should always have a fresh look. Changes to the home page of the platform should be done on a regular basis. If your platform has content housed on it ensure that the content is updated regularly.

 

Challenge-Driven

Introducing challenged driven campaigns and theme based idea generation and development is an effective way of keeping things fresh and interesting. It also enables you to address relevant and timely issues in a responsive, opportunistic and proactive fashion. Challenge Driven Innovation is an excellent mechanism to sustaining a high level of user engagement. Challenges should be frequent and communicated to the employee base via your company’s intranet or newsletters.

Implementing these simple yet effective steps in communicating your Innovation program and process will yield tangible results. A little planning will go a long way!

 

About the Planbox:

Planbox is the pioneering provider of cloud-based Agile Work Innovation software solutions. Planbox mission is to help organizations thrive by transforming the culture of agile work, continuous innovation and creativity across the entire organization. Our family of products include Collaborative Innovation Management and Work Management applications. Planbox is designed to be the work and innovation tool for everyone, built for companies and teams of all sizes and trusted by some of the world’s most recognized brands including Bridgestone, CGI, Nestlé, Sempra Energy, Starbucks, Stanford, Philips, The Salvation Army and Verizon with millions of internal and external users.