INNOVATION MASTERY 20: Rewarding Your Inventors: Recognition and Access [VIDEO]

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This episode: Rewarding Your Inventors: Recognition and Access

Of all of the methods I’ve used, and my clients have used to trigger and assist in engagement for any kind of program, be it a small hackathon to an enterprise-wide crowdsourced program, the best and most effective (and possibly the cheapest) way to do it is to offer recognition of the inventor to the rest of the company. External recognition is not great, but very high-level internal recognition usually works great. Here are some of the ways my clients and I have recognized inventors

  1. During all-hands meetings, pull the inventors who won the last challenge onstage and tell them what a great job they did invent their idea. It’s up to you if you decide to put them on the spot to talk about it or just give them kudos. Best if kudos come from the CEO very publicly
  2. Send out an internal communication to your company featuring the inventors
  3. Have a real or virtual “hall of fame” – with “inventors of the quarter,” “inventors of the year,” etc.
  4. Shoot a video of your inventors talking about their ideas and post it online on your intranet
  5. Hold an “Innovation Day” where your inventor teams can pitch the idea to other employees, Shark Tank-style, and have the crowd vote for the best one. Videotape the entire thing and put it on your corporate network.

In my experience, recognition is a potent driver of innovation. It must be very public and enterprise-wide recognition. Imagine if one of your employees in some obscure department comes up with the idea that may (or may not) be your company’s next unicorn and is then presented to the rest of the company as a great inventor whose ideas are being heard. Can you imagine the overwhelming sense of motivation that will hold for the entire company – that anyone, anywhere, can innovate to such a level to be recognized by the CEO? Now that’s powerful.