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Innovation is the life blood of any enterprise’s success and growth. Embracing innovative ideas is important for any brand’s sustained leadership in the market. History is testimonial to the fact; businesses which have not implemented new ideas on time have eventually been elbowed out of business by competition… and organizations which have resisted the needed change have perished without trace. While it is normal for organizations to strive for excellence, claim to be receptive to new ideas and accommodative to changes; seldom do we see them doing something real to make innovations happen.

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A survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper’s reveals ‘61% of CEOs worldwide say that innovation is a primary concern within their businesses’. A recent Bain & Company survey found that two-thirds of enterprise executives named innovation as one of their top three priorities.
We know well, an organization is a large pool of innovative ideas; people whether they are employees or customers or partners have great ideas to make a business successful. But the real challenge is how to tap this collective intelligence for common good. People have great ideas; they have the wish to participate but there isn’t any platform where they will be heard & valued. People in the bottom rungs of the organization often don’t have access to the top management. But does that necessarily mean they couldn’t have ‘life changing’ ideas?


Let’s accept, managing Innovation is tricky. It needs a lot of deliberate efforts to build an active appetite for innovation. How to build the right strategy for innovation? Could Innovation be managed & fostered?  Here are some great ways an enterprise could make INNOVATION happen!


Don’t hesitate to be repetitive
A professor of Physics in a University used to repeat the same question in every exam he gave to the students. ‘Same question in every exam? Why would you do this?’ asked his fellows in academics. ‘You could always ask different questions?’
The professor replied earnestly ‘the question no doubt is the same but as far as I get different answers I am OK. I get new versions of the answer every time because the students are evolving with every class & exam. In that sense I actually get new ways to solve the same problem every time’.

Innovation is highly iterative. It’s not linear… it happens in cycles. Innovation is a journey. In this journey you often experience ‘déjà vu’…and sometimes frustrations too. It’s a continuous process. If you have developed a great ‘mobile app’ today… chances are the competition comes out with an even better one next week. Mind you! It’s a journey chasing excellence. There is no destination.


Suggestions@xyz.com’ is not enough for innovation to happen.
Many enterprises have email IDs such as ideas@xyz.com where people are expected to share their ideas for some great innovation. But…hardly anyone actually shares anything. Eventually the ID becomes a junk box/ a black hole which no one even bothers to check. Such initiatives only increase the chaos. ‘Digital suggestion box’ is not the right way to foster innovation. Innovation doesn’t happen that way. Innovation needs a mature platform.


Provide people with a platform to ideate… They all can’t be in the boardroom
Study by ‘Idea Champions’ reveals- only 3 percent of the people come up with their best ideas at work. The other 97 percent said their best ideas come to them while they are in the shower, on vacation, taking walks, enjoying a glass of wine, or just doing nothing.
Often we too have our ‘eureka’ moments in the cafeteria or while attending a boring conference call
J but all we could do is park the idea to be discussed in the next office meeting. No wonder ideas die before they are incepted.


Having an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) doesn’t guarantee innovation

Innovation doesn’t happen by chance. Ideation should be an active, repeatable & quantifiable business process within the organization. ESN could be a great way to enable collecting ideas. Ideas could be crowdsourced from customers, employees, partners etc in the internal & external communities of the enterprise. While this is important for innovation; even more is how these ideas are driven from concept to reality. Most of the ideas which emerge as great ones do not get materialized because there isn’t a mechanism in place to incubate and implement them.

 

Enterprise Innovation Management (EIM) could make an enterprise thrive on innovations

A true collaborative enterprise should have a platform to make innovations happen. There has to be system which should actively capture, share & evaluate ideas. Ideas should go through a ‘graduation’ process where they are evaluated on various parameters by people from different groups. It’s a process to separate wheat from chaff. It’s a process to separate real signals from noise.inno2.JPG


People need collaboration and mobility tools to work anywhere, any time. Ideation could be workflowed into the daily works of the employees. In most of the enterprises Innovation is still a siloed, separate activity.

Implementation of the qualified ideas is key to successful innovation

Once the idea graduates; there has to be the further necessary actions like budgeting, funding, Go to Market, Product Management initiatives, RoI calculations, customer communications, Trials/ POCs etc. Many people are required to bring ideas into action. This could be done assigning people with necessary ‘tasks & projects’ in a time bound manner. Collecting ideas is important but even more important is what we do of the ideas we collect.

 

Ensure participation & engagement of all stakeholders
Methods for engagement like gamification could help in motivating employees to participate in the ideation process. It’s a way to instill ‘high value’ behaviors in people. As per McKinsey 50% of highly profitable companies have 50% more engaged employees versus unprofitable companies. What drives profit? Excellence & Innovation at work right? Gamification exactly helps in doing that.

 


Measure. Think. Repeat
Idea Analytics could help in monitoring how the process of ideation is fairing. How people are participating & sharing. Reports/ dashboards/ data visualizations help to keep a tab on the entire Innovation management process right from inception to implementation.

 

Keep ideas safe so they are not stolen away
Proper Access & Identity Management could help to ensure only the right people see the details of the ideas and all discussions around them. Be pragmatic. You never know, some disgruntled employees might take your nice ideas to the competition before you implement them. Be ware.


Remember no idea is bad… only that its time hasn’t come.
If an idea cannot be implemented immediately; it always remains in the repository to be evaluated later. No idea is bad. Every idea has it’s time. Sometimes a great idea comes out of nowhere and jumps into your lap. You never recognize it at first as a great idea, then suddenly it hits you “it’s a GREAT IDEA” you just never noticed it before.

EIM (Enterprise Innovation Management) is a platform to manage ideas and make innovation happen. It helps to check that ideas don’t slip through the cracks.

A successful enterprise would always find ways to manage ideas properly. It would strive to harness and not hamper innovation.


Unsuccessful enterprises have many options...of which one could be to remain content with an email ID like:
we_need_some_great_ideas_now!_Hurry! send_them immediately@xyz.com


What would you be like?

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Usually when you meet someone for the first time, there are the customary pleasantries and common questions you exchange to get to know that person, like where they are from, and what college they went to, but my personal favorite is, “what do you do for a living?” When I tell somebody I do social media for a software company, there are typically a number of reactions that I encounter, including, but not limited to:

 

  • How do you do that for business exactly?
  • How did you get started in that?
  • Do you just play on Facebook all day?
  • What’s the ROI?
  • Blank stares (at which time, I elaborate).

 

I’ve come up with a number of answers over the years for all of these questions and reactions, some serious, some quirky, but I never get tired of discussing the topic. Most people’s initial reaction to my response is “wow, that’s super cool!” And I might be a bit biased, but I would have to say, I agree. I love what I do; it’s always changing and challenging and most importantly, interesting.

 

Now, I get to add an even cooler chapter to my story – working for Jive. As the new Social Media Marketing Manager, I can’t wait to dive into the discussion and get to know all of you. I’ll go first – I attended Santa Clara University, am originally from San Mateo, CA, and am a self proclaimed Disney geek who loves taking ballet classes. I’m sure you’ll see all of these aspects of what makes me “me” seep into my writing in the future.

 

I’m certain that this will be my next big adventure, and like all of you, I’m excited to continually improve my #workstyle.

tasmo.jpegWe just launched Jive's latest Open Source project, Tasmo. It's a key part of our cloud architecture, and as the technology matures we hope it becomes an important tool for other companies building large-scale systems on top of HBase. Yesterday, Jive engineers Pete Matern and Jonathan Colt presented the project at HBase Con and the source is available now on Github.

 

So, what exactly is Tasmo? A description from the documentation:

 

Tasmo a high performance and easy to use Open Source system for storing and retrieving data objects in HBase. It lets developers model application data using a simple system of Events and Materialized Views, freeing them from having to handle complex join and filter logic. It's highly optimized for read performance; a Materialized View is served with a single HBase row. Tasmo attempts to combine the scale, speed and fault-tolerance of a Big Data architecture with the developer productivity of a traditional database.

 

We're excited about the project, as well as what we're building on top of it for Jive customers!

 

Our larger commitment to open source continues (a long tradition at Jive). On our Developer Site, you can find open source SDKs and sample code for building apps on top of the Jive platform. We also have developers making significant contributions to projects we use in our architecture, such as jQuery Mobile, Kafka and SenseiDB.

Any company trying to compete must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee- Jack Welch

People are the most valuable asset of any organization. There could be buildings, machines, assets worth millions of dollars but if the right talent is not available, organizations could never scale the pinnacle of success. “Talent shortages” takes priority over “operational execution” reveals a recent survey involving 780 CEOs. Today, any initiative around people excellence is no more a cost item, its survival.

For any enterprise, addressing the people’s issues is of prime importance because it directly impacts its performance and growth. ‘People Excellence’ department is always on a quest to make employee’s performance optimal so that every employee is able to contribute his maximum to the organization. Inspite of such sincere efforts, the culture, practices & technologies used within the organization often hinder performance. Organizations make massive investments in building HR policies & systems but a shouting contrast to it is that the manpower still remains largely untapped.

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IDC estimates that the average worker spends up to 35% of their time just looking for information. 89% of new hires say they don’t have the optimal level of knowledge to do their job. The typical mid-level manager takes 6.2 months before they start to add more value than they have consumed. What a waste!

Initial 45 days are critical for any new Hire. This is when 1/3 of the employee-churn happens. The cost of losing an employee is 3x the annual salary. Traditional onboarding adds lot of chaos to work. The induction program organized for new hires does not add much value. The new hires are bombarded with dozens of PowerPoint presentations in the 3 days program and are then expected to understand all of it and start performing next day onwards. When asked for more information they get numerous email forwards which only fill their inboxes up. When they need experts help, it’s really hard to find any.

If we have the right digital transformation strategy, we could barrel through all employees related problems. A better way of onboarding could be the social way by building strong internal employee communities. The employee could join a group relevant to his role & his interests. The news feeds give him constant updates on the activities taking place on a project, event or topic. Experts are added to the group where they could collaborate with the team, share ideas, best practices and the entire team could be in sync. Views/ comments could be corroborated & fast actions could be taken. Eventually, the load of unwanted emails is eased, there are lesser numbers of meetings, less time wasted and productivity shoots up.

Let’s accept the fact that the days of ‘9 to 5’ jobs are over. Employees today want more flexibility at work. Millennials who use Smartphones & Tablets at work want a more flexible & freelancing work environment. No wonder 60% of them are leaving their companies in less than three years.A recent ‘Millennial Branding’ report also found that 45% of millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. It’s a radical shift in priority.

So what we see written on the wall is, it should not be just about how much time an employee spends in the office but how much value add he does. Unlike the baby boomers, the millennials don’t mind taking work along on their smart devices. For them there is a thin line between their personal & office lives. In order to ensure longevity of today’s ‘thumb-typing’ workforce its important to make work more engaging,  mobile, increase freelancing & make work hours flexible.

Thats where Social onboarding could add value. It could improve employee productivity & reduce churn through better collaboration, sharing & communication.

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