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The most relevant, effective, and useful solutions for improving an organization typically come from those who have face-to-face roles with customers. I call this phenomenon "bubble-up innovation." It happens when fresh ideas and contributions on how to operate more efficiently are generated by front-line employees. When bubble-up innovation is encouraged, appreciated, and enacted, it can transform a good organization into a great one.
The following are tips to create structures to support and sustain this type of innovation:
Place a tape recorder in a bubble-up "zone" where employees can record their ideas. Employees are more likely to give you ideas if they don’t have to spend a lot of time writing them down.
Rewards and recognition. You want to encourage and reward innovative behaviors. Gift certificates, movie tickets, and spot bonuses (instant cash recognition) are all good incentives.
Provide a simple form that employees can fill out. While many people are more likely to give you ideas off-the-cuff verbally, some employees feel more comfortable writing their ideas on paper.
Michael D. Brown, MBA
Customer Service Consultant
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