Fresh companies thrive. Stale companies die. So, how good is your firm at improving its products and processes, or creating new ones? This quick test will tell you whether you’re taking the right steps to generate, evaluate and implement new ideas.
Answer True (T) or False (F) to each of the following questions:
1. Regularly solicits and evaluates suggestions from all employees.
2. Encourages interaction between departments, or allows people to temporarily switch jobs.
3. Surveys customers at least annually for new product suggestions and ways to serve them better.
4. Cuts off its least productive accounts annually and redirects the money used to service them into R&D.
5. Makes it easy for employees to express their ideas (e.g., verbally rather than through written submissions).
6. Reacts to new ideas quickly, thereby demonstrating a commitment to innovation.
7. Employs a “Chief Innovation Officer” – full- or part-time – who is charged with follow-through on new ideas.
8. Uses customer complaints as starting points for product/service improvements.
9. Has available human and financial resources to respond quickly to great new ideas.
10. Has a formal description of what constitutes an idea worth pursuing (e.g., timeliness, bottom-line impact).
Take one point for each “true” response. The higher you score, the more innovative your company is. Score below four, and your best-before date is near.
Ruth Ann Hattori, InnovationNetwork, www.thinksmart.com; Dr. Jeffrey Stamp, Eureka!Ranch, www.eurekaranch.com; Aubrey C. Daniels, Aubrey Daniels & Associates, www.aubreydaniels.com; Paul Douglas, Dublin City University, www.dcu.ie.