What Great Ideas Need to Survive

Businesses need ideas, not just for solving problems but also to keep growing. While most companies look outside for ideas, not too many look within. It’s a simple, yet, powerful way of empowering your employees and finding what the business requires at the same time.

There’s never a dearth of ideas among employees, but it’s not all that easy for each of those ideas to see the light of day. That’s because people are often worried about bypassing authority to reach the relevant stakeholders; or, they simply give up after trying in vain to overcome all the bureaucratic red tape.

The Power Of Collective Creativity
The only way out is to raze down organizational silos, hierarchy and office politics. They act as impermeable barriers to the flow of ideas and can eventually lead to stagnation or complete failure of the business. On the other end, when employees feel comfortable with openly sharing their ideas, irrespective of their direct involvement in an issue, it really opens up the horizon.

At Semco, thanks to the horizontal organizational structure and transparent work culture, ideas flow freely across departments - without any barriers. What that means is there’s excessive idea generation and the company often shares these ideas with the market in their infancy - to check if they can be validated within the current marketplace.

How To Realize An Idea
For example, a group of employees built a piece of equipment that wasn’t finalized for sales and end users. But, the company decided to test the prototype in the market. Even though they hadn’t officially launched the product, they still had many clients who were interested in paying for it. This way, it became clear that the prototype was ready for full-blown production.

However, the team that developed the prototype had got so mired in testing and validating their idea that they’d failed to prepare for its eventual execution. Their lack of readiness to move the product from a prototype to an actual product that clients were now waiting for, caused the company’s reputation to take a small hit.

However, they viewed it as a learning moment and understood that while it’s important to have ideas, it’s equally pertinent to have a plan for its execution. Finding a balance between idea generation and execution is key and probably the most challenging aspect of the entire process.

Culture - The Secret Ingredient
Companies are always looking for great ideas that solve problems creatively. But what they don’t realize is that their employees might have many such ideas but aren’t sure how to express them. Creative and innovative ideas often spring from unexpected sources (people in other departments, for instance) and tapping into them is a great way to encourage interdepartmental communication and cooperation.

It’s important to promote a work culture that emphasizes sharing and transparency instead of closed and competitive behavior among employees. In such a culture, people can stop worrying about stepping over other people’s toes or achieving illusory triumphs. Instead, they can begin to approach problems with more enthusiasm and an experimental mindset.

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