Encouraging Idea Generation in Professional

 Encouraging Idea Generation in Professional Services Firms

By: Christine Hollinden

Innovation and creativity are essential for maintaining a competitive advantage. Fresh ideas, collaboration, and brainstorming can fuel excitement, energy, and growth. With limited time, how do you harness innovation? Where do you look to cultivate new ideas?

The first place you should look is your own front-line employees. Since they have daily interaction with your clients, they bring a unique perspective. With an open dialogue, your employees can provide a wealth of ideas when given the opportunity. While the old "suggestion box" had its merits, companies that proactively turn to their employees for innovation and creativity are now developing programs that improve every aspect of the firm. Here are some simple ways to tap into your team’s creativity:

  1. Encourage Collaboration. Give the team a hypothetical client issue and ask them to supply creative solutions. Challenge them to think outside the box.

  2. Hold Ideas Forums. Invite employees for free-form discussions every other month or every quarter. Use this time to brainstorm about new blogs, newsletter topics, or email campaigns to boost creative content development.

  3. Set Guidelines. People are more likely to share when they are less vulnerable to embarrassment or criticism. The one “rule” to follow is: “every idea is a good idea.” Let people share freely, THEN sort through the content.

  4. Celebrate Success. Recognize and reward employees for their ideas.

The challenge is not to get bogged down thinking that to be amazing an idea must be "cutting-edge." Determine what you can do better than other firms within your business category–from company culture and service innovation to all client touch-points. It all starts with idea generation.

IdeaDon’t wait. Get the ideas flowing!

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