I was reading an interesting article over the weekend on that old standby - i.e, how to draw out employees creativity.
A lot of firms have ideas boxes or on line versions so that people can post an idea which allows people to place a summary of their ideas and then it goes through to either a committee which then winnows it out before it goes to senior management for a yea or nay. It is good as far as it goes and many useful initiatives do come out of it.
However, is there a case for taking it up a level and asking people to prove the viability of their idea from the start. Of course we might have to review the way that we look at innovation in an organisation by providing the right support and incentives by teaching people the economics of innovation maybe working with someone from the finance team or an experienced manager in the firm
The other area, is that we might need to increase the level of bonuses - ie a set %ge of the savings or increased earnings. The article highlighted that by taking a slightly harder approach found between a 20 to 40% increase in the number of workable initiatives. It was interesting to note that organisations that cut them back observed a significant decline in innovation activity.
The other element is that you must publicise your successes and keep instilling the concept that ideas are valued but also that an idea must have an economic impact. Maybe one day more organisations will undertake what 3 M and Google do and set time aside for people to be innovative - but that they need to come up with a proper business plan rather than a summary.