Employee-driven innovation

In the last few years, we’ve seen a growing tendency to involve employees in the development of services, processes and products. Hierarchies have flattened and responsibilities have been delegated through self-management and autonomous units. Communication across organisations has also increased – both vertically and horizontally. At the same time, we have witnessed that top management is getting more and more involved in daily operations, so that more decisions are being made higher up in the organisation.

On one hand, you still have top-down innovation strategies and decisions, whilst on the other hand, ideas, changes and results are coming from the bottom up. Just how, exactly, do you get that interplay to succeed?

The original term, “employee-driven innovation”, is a Danish phenomenon that surfaced in 2007. It’s a new and fairly unknown area within the field of innovation but it’s based on the old idea-box tradition – with traces back to both Taylor and a Japanese shogun.

I define employee-driven innovation as: “Employees use their full capacity and potential –  beyond their own role – to create new value to the organisation and it’s customers”.

The benefits are quite broad – spanning from increased well-being to improved top line.

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