Cost cutting has become the norm these days. The fire for new ideas and new technology seems to be held back. Economic downturns offer unique opportunities to launch innovative new products and services. Within a service company, the biggest challenge with driving innovation is getting everyone involved. Innovation lab may not necessarily be the answer as it limits the responsibility to the sole team. Employees are happy doing their assigned work.

At CI, we do not believe in innovation labs. We believe everyone has the right to innovate and is required to innovate. The strategy is to engage more people in the pursuit of innovation while maintaining a sharp focus on the needs of the business and improving customer satisfaction. Innovation efforts are ties closely with customer satisfaction efforts. When the effort is tied to helping a customer, there is pressure in finding the time and opportunity to think out of the box. So how do we encourage employees to innovate:

  • Openness to innovation – A sense of entrepreneurship among the employees and cultivating ownership among them. Innovation is about taking risks. Efforts matter. When the effort goes great then the employee is responsible. If the effort does not have the expected results then it is everybody’s mistake and not an individual employee’s.
  • New ideas – Not restricting innovation to a group of people has helped foster innovation and have a pipeline of new ideas.
  • Test and Learn approach – Failure is inevitable. One may not be able to avoid failure completely but one can definitely get to failure quickly and cheaply. Assigning a timeline to each of the ideas helps in validating the effectiveness of the same.