Does someone owe you a lot of ideas?

Is it unreasonable to expect that employees in your company occasionally come up with a solid idea or two on how to improve your business? I don’t think it is. If anything, as we become more experienced, more proficient and generally wiser, we should be coming up with ideas on how to improve the world around us all the time.

It might be a massive deal, like figuring out how to increase your revenue by a factor of 10, or it might be something small, like thinking of a way to cut down printer paper consumption by only 10%. Even the smallest and simplest ideas can have a significant impact to the company, as benefits from those ideas accumulate over time.
In order to start accumulating benefits, companies will need to tap into another accumulated resource – their employees’ experience. Adding up all the years on the job, from all the employees in a company, amounts to at least centuries, but more often millennia of accumulated experience.
Although it’s become a cliché to refer to something as “a new oil”, what we call “collective intelligence”, “crowd knowledge” or “accumulated experience” is in fact what fuels innovation in a company.

Although it’s become a cliché to refer to something as “a new oil”, what we call “collective intelligence”, “crowd knowledge” or “accumulated experience” is in fact what fuels innovation in a company.

 

All by itself, accumulated experience doesn’t guarantee innovation success, just like filling your car with petrol doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach your destination. However, just like filling your car with petrol, it is an essential part of the journey. It is also not nearly enough to just think of ideas. They still need to be captured, enriched and refined, then evaluated, defined into projects and finally – and most importantly – implemented.
So how can you tell if you’re utilizing this valuable resource properly? There is no precise way to measure the extent of utilizing accumulated experience, but there is a way to approximate it with an assumption or two.
Let’s rephrase the opening sentence a bit: “Is every employee contributing with at least one idea every year?”. If we assume that one idea per employee per year of experience is a bare minimum, it now becomes easy to calculate actual captured ideas against a target based on accumulated experience. To put it simply – millennia of experience equals to thousands of ideas.
Did you get the same numbers in your company? If not, someone owes you a lot of ideas!