Category: High Performance Ideas

The Power of Idea Fairs thumbnail

Last week, Dean Schroeder and I were working in Sweden, studying the idea initiatives of government agencies at all levels, from Kommuns (the equivalent of county governments) to national level institutions like the Tax Authority, the Defense Department, and Immigration. Almost everywhere, the same concern came up: What can we do, as leaders in a government setting, to get our employees and managers on board with  »  Read More

Catch Them Early

Catch Them Early thumbnail

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an interesting idea. It’s a simple tactic that can be particularly helpful in newly launched idea programs, or programs that are struggling to get support from supervisors and managers. The tactic comes from Mary Jo Caldwell, the director of the continuous improvement (CI) effort for the State of Minnesota. The state’s CI program is relatively new, and vastly underfunded  »  Read More

Top-down Innovation is Orderly but Dumb thumbnail

One of my favorite sayings about innovation comes from Curtis Carlson, CEO of SRI International, “Top-down innovation is orderly but dumb, bottom-up innovation is chaotic but smart.” His observation is now informally known as “Carlson’s Law.” As readers of this blog already know, the same is also true of improvement, but for today, I would like to focus on innovation. The best evidence I am aware of for  »  Read More

The Most Important Number to Watch When Launching a High-Performing Idea System thumbnail

A few years after helping a medium-sized insurance company launch its idea system, I happened to bump into the CEO. I asked him how his company’s idea system was going. “It’s going very well,” he replied. (During the course of our brief conversation, it emerged that the system was getting approximately 25 implemented ideas per employee.) “In fact, if I tried to stop it now, I would probably have a  »  Read More

The Continuous Improvement (CI) Equation thumbnail

Recently, just as the senior management team at a midsize Midwestern company was nearing a decision to set up and launch a high-performance idea system, the CEO expressed some last minute second thoughts. The company had contacted me because its idea system (an online suggestion-box process) was getting less than an idea per person per year. The manager of continuous improvement knew the company could do much  »  Read More

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