Innovation culture and managing ideas

I am recently read that the BBC is now working with an ideas management system for their BBC iCreate programme. 

Looking at this from a designer’s viewpoint, and as a designer interested in the way brands can help businesses innovate, change and develop, I found it fascinating that the BBC feels that using technology to be able to harness ideas is the way forward.

I have only read an article today in the Business Matters regarding this and I believe there are other routes businesses in general can use to foster an innovation culture. And, for most businesses the reality is that they haven’t got the resources to enter into a big ‘programme’. So, it needs to be part of the company culture to innovate, be allowed to come up with and suggest ideas to change and improve products and services or production and systems.

The way forward for most businesses, in my view, will be to go back to the starting point every now and again and ask themselves why they are here, why was the company started, what is their reason for existing, what value do they offer the customer? Through that process one can identify the brand and start communicating that to employees and customers in a clear and consistent manner. With that vision one can then develop a culture within the business that allows employees to innovate within and become ‘intrapreneurs’.

But this needs to be initiated from the top. If the  top management is not on board or resisting the idea that ‘others’ can come up with ideas and allow them to develop those ideas, then it is going to fail.

Pat Younge, Chief Creative Officer, BBC Production, says of their thinking behind rolling out the BBC iCreate programme: “Good programming ideas need development, feedback and discussion and employee engagement is a key part of how BBC Production operates. We believe we have a wealth of untapped creative talent which BBC iCreate can help liberate to generate some fantastic TV shows.”

So there it is – ideas, feedback, discussion, development and employee engagement to liberate the employees and generate ideas.

Do you need a crowd-sourcing technology to do this as the BBC is doing? I think not. Be open, encourage new thinking and be critical of those who won’t try and change rather than stop those who want to.