#128 – New Ideas in Organizations

For the past two weeks ago we have been exploring the theme of how leaders can support the introduction of new ideas and encourage employee participation in the leadership function. Here’s a thoughtful and instructive response from Terry Garrett of GoLocal Sonoma County, an organization that promotes building a resilient, thriving, local economy by supporting local, independently owned companies. (Disclosure – I am proud to be a completely biased founding member of this organization.) www.golocal.coop.

Food for Thought from Terry Garrett ~

Over the years I’ve come to favor consciously nurturing ideas via organizational process rather than the informal “planting a seed.” Ideas are the life blood of a organization. They can sink or boost a company and that makes them powerful. As such, ideas require due diligence and open, direct communication among members of a company to vet them and decide which ones to adopt and which ones to avoid. Our company uses a two-stage idea pipeline for quickly assessing ideas to determine which ones go forward to the testing phase, as well as the criteria for the test results. Certainly for small ideas, like changes in schedules or operations, an informal method works well. But above all, open and honest communication about ideas is important.

Question for the day ~

What methods does your organization use to explore, nurture, and test new ideas and encourage employee engagement and involvement?

My new column in the NorthBay Business Journal was published this week. It addresses the subject of emergency preparedness, because it’s a matter of when, not if something will happen, and it’s a leader’s responsibility to be sure his/her organization is prepared. Click here to read the article.