Crowdsourcing: Leveraging the Distributed Knowledge of Your Employees

When building a robust innovation strategy for your organization, leveraging the distributed knowledge of your employees should be one of your greatest aims. 

Statistics show that 86% of employees and execs cite ineffective communication as the reason for workplace failure from missed deadlines and incomplete projects to lost sales and financial losses. Tapping into the full wealth of distributed knowledge through crowdsourced contributions from employees at every level of the company will help overcome this problem and give you the best chance of identifying great innovations. Here’s how to do it in five easy steps.

Step 1: Cultivate a better working environment

Experts at Forbes cite burnout as one of the chief reasons that employees don’t innovate as they could, explaining that “creativity requires energy, peace of mind and perspective”. So, the first thing you must do is build a working environment that actively encourages innovation from employees across all teams and departments. 

An active effort to promote employee wellness is a good starting point, as evidenced by companies like Mozilla, Marriott International, and Cisco. For the best results, though, you should take a flexible approach and allow employees to work on their innovations when they are in their creative mood. Restricting innovation to a dedicated two-hour slot on a Wednesday afternoon, for example, simply won’t work.


Step 2: Develop psychological safety

Your end goal is to facilitate collective innovation that taps into the distributed knowledge of all employees. Before achieving this, though, you must ensure that they are comfortable with individual innovation. The fear of failure is often seen as the biggest obstacle, with 85% of execs saying it holds back innovation. 

Psychological safety helps to remove the fear of failure that often holds back individual innovation in the workplace. When employees feel safe and supported in taking risks and sharing their ideas, they are more likely to think creatively and contribute to the innovation process, ultimately leading to a more successful and innovative organization.

Innovation is an interactive process involving constant trial and error. Consequently, then, you must emphasize the fact that failure is merely a step on the path to future success. When employees are comfortable with failure, they will have the confidence to present concepts to others. This will plant the seeds for collaborations that tap into the distributed knowledge.


Step 3: Make innovation a visible process 

While the vast majority of execs agree that innovation is crucial to their growth strategy, many lack defined clarity. Siemens Energy, who used the open and inclusive program to create an ecosystem that actively promotes intrapreneurship, is just one example of an organization that has benefitted from the visible process built through KICKBOX.

KICKBOX is a revolutionary employee innovation program that encourages creative mindsets but uses a defined strategy to take a raw idea and turn it into a developed innovation. The methodology has helped over 1,000 organizations by visualizing every aspect of the innovation process. It’s a framework that also opens the door to crowdsourced contributions.


Step 4: Celebrate innovation at every stage

Research shows that 79% of employees quit due to a lack of appreciation. Meanwhile, many others will stop innovating because they feel it is a fruitless task due to the fact that outdated strategies only applaud the manager that oversaw the project. When every contribution is sufficiently praised, it will encourage all employees to have an input where they can.

The automated recording of all contributions with real-time data and analytics is another reason why many organizations find great success when using KICKBOX. Your business cannot take innovations to their end if the beginning and middle aren’t in place. Securing distributed knowledge at every stage of the project will transform the future of the business.


Step 5: Hire the right employees

59% of company executives aren’t sure they have the right people with the right skills needed to deliver high-quality innovation. However, in most cases, the problem is not due to a lack of quality in the ideas presented, but rather a lack of diversity. The best way to combat this is to have a diverse team of employees.

While all individual and collective innovation should boast strong contextuality within your business model, acquiring diverse perspectives is highly advantageous. Aside from gaining a wider range of concepts, it allows your organization to cover all angles when looking for solutions to any issues that may surface. 

Want to learn more about crowdsourced innovation and getting more out of your employees? Contact the rready team to arrange a KICKBOX demo today.

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