Innovation

How to Find the Best New Ideas Within Your Business

SoapBox Innovation built a suggestion box that actually works. What it can teach you about innovation

Written by As told to Murad Hemmadi

Brennan McEachran is CEO of SoapBox Innovations, which he co-founded  in 2010. The platform for gathering employee ideas counts Coca-Cola, Bank of Montreal, General Electric and Metrolinx among its clients, and raised $3 million in seed financing in October 2015.

Brennan_Mceachran-Soapbox_Innovations-P_Roberto_Caruso-Change_Agent_January_2016-300x450Photo: Robert Caruso

We make software that enables large companies to act like successful startups.

As an organization grows, it needs structure. But structure leads to silos—physical, geographic and departmental divisions—that stop great ideas from being acted upon, because they don’t reach the right people. Ideas and engagement die.

What we’re doing is flattening organizations: SoapBox lets all employees submit ideas for making or saving money, for changes they’d like to see in the company or for ways to improve the customer or employee experience. Other employees can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the suggestions. SoapBox automatically finds similar ideas and merges those together, and the best ones bubble up all the way to the top. Leaders can not only find the best proposals but also act upon them and communicate what they’ve done to the whole organization.

The promise you’re making to your employees is, “If you add an idea here, we’re going to look at it and evaluate it.” If you launch something like SoapBox—even if it’s just an email address for ideas—you need to respond to the community. Otherwise, employees feel ignored. You get the opposite of what you want.

This article is from the January 2016 issue of Canadian BusinessSubscribe now!

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com