It is all too easy to get comfortable in business and forget that innovation can take many forms. It is not just about the big R&D spend each year. Innovation means many things to different organisations however the context I wish to talk about is the Innovation starting with a small ‘i’.
Innovation is a creative word that means thinking out of the box in all areas of the business. Everyone in the organisation is perfectly capable of making really useful suggestions to make small but important improvements to our work lives. We have had some lovely innovations from our Warehouse Packers through to our Accounts Manager.
No point waiting for that big fat innovation idea when each day you can make smaller changes a reality based on collective suggestions from all employees. It also makes people feel that they are listened to over and above their normal job role. There are two recent innovations that have been implemented at WOW Toys that I particularly like:
1. Having two dishwashers side by side in the WOW Kitchen so the plates etc are essentially constantly moving from one machine to another when dirty. This eliminates the 15 minutes each day to move the clean plates etc from the single dishwasher to the respective cupboards. 15 minutes per day is 63 hours per year at expensive labour costs and therefore much cheaper to have a second dishwasher.
2. WOW Toys runs some 12 consumer events each year around the UK (like Lollibop in London) and it is cheaper to use our own staff from a variety of departments to run these events each day engaging with parents and toddlers than hire promotional agency staff. Furthermore doing it his way gives tremendous satisfaction to our staff when they consistently get great feedback from the public. It also challenges them to think beyond their normal job roles.
There must be so many simple and small innovations that have had a positive impact in organisations that are Knowledge Peers members. I would love to hear some of them and ask readers to add their comments below. It does not matter how silly they seem. If it made a difference then it deserves mentioning.
I am personally going to put my ‘thinking cap on’ and get into a different head space to see what innovations I can think of. I want to see the world in a different way and get into the box so that I can think out of the box! Wish me luck!