“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” ~ Oscar Wilde
How does your organization react to ideas? Threatened? Welcomed? A powerful idea has the potential to rattle the cage. And while executives, managers and workers sing the praise of innovation, how can innovation thrive if ideas are squashed?
Employees are often argued to be the greatest resource of a company. But are all employees valued equally when it comes to innovation? Is there a means to communicate that innovation up through the organization?
One culprit in the innovation process stems from limited organizational structures. Another is from dismissing the unusual suspects of innovation. Sometimes, the search for innovation benefits from listening to people who are not the usual idea generators, who might look and seem different.
While an open innovation approach to business sustainability offers stakeholders the opportunity to become engaged in the future of a business, it also recognizes that all key stakeholders have a vested interest the success of the company, creates openness to new ideas that promote business success. The trick is engaging employees at all levels of the organization – including the unusual suspects.
Why is this important? Consider this on a personal level. No one knows your job like you do. You have day to day knowledge of potential gains related to suppliers, customers, and productivity. Once oriented to the corporate CSR vision, sustainability plan, and the sustainable business strategies pursued, (whether that be water, energy, carbon, sustainable supply chain), you as an employee have a lens in which to view current position. That contrast is the spark for innovation for your specific job and how it fits in the larger context of business operations. This applies from a janitorial position to the CEO position.
The ability to drive new levels of sustainable business performance requires more than executive leadership; it involves engagement at all levels. As communicated within our business sustainability programs, enabled by the right structure, stakeholder generated innovation can be the company’s greatest asset for change. Limiting organizational structures need to be transformed to support innovative ideas rising to the top.