You don’t need to have a fancy innovation lab to be an innovative company.  All you need is a suggestion box . . . and a process for managing it. 

“Innovation is often seen as some big disruptive thing that only funded startups or large established corporations can do because they can afford to invest in it, but the truth is, any company, no matter how small, can implement innovative ideas to their products and services and makes their systems more efficient,” says Dr. Gail Ferreira, an expert advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, an elite global management consulting firm. 

Dr. Ferreira is also the author of the new book “Leading The Agile Enterprise: The Essential Guide To Lean Agile Teams” and she specializes in leading large-scale transformation programs from the C-Level to the team level. She can discuss: 

Here’s How Any Company Can Be Innovative In 4 Easy Steps

• Step 1: Ask For Ideas. The culture of any company is refined at the top. Innovation must be valued, given oversight, and when necessary, funded. This value on innovation is the leaders job to communicate across the organization. Have company leaders make clear that no idea is too simple, and if you think it would make your work product better then submit it. 

• Step 2: Get A Suggestion Box. It doesn’t have to be a physical box, but it can be. The most important thing is that when an ordinary employee sends an email to innovation@yourcompany or drops a note in the suggestion box, they need to know that the organization is equipped to receive and process their idea. There is no faster way to kill an innovation effort than to make employees feel as though their ideas, when submitted, vanish into a black hole. 

• Step 3: Actually Review The Ideas. It may sound obvious to review the ideas that come in, but a study from Accenture found that 72% of companies allow innovations to languish because there is no formalized process to review and evaluate suggested ideas! So, assign a team of current employees or managers to review suggestions on a regular basis. Or, do it on the executive level.

• Step 4: Offer Recognition. Surprisingly, studies show that employees are often not interested in monetary rewards for their ideas. They contribute because they want to help the organization and feel as though they are doing something valuable. So when innovations actually get implemented, be sure to publicly praise that employee for having the idea.