How To Get Every Employee To Contribute To The Innovation Process

How To Get Every Employee To Contribute To The Innovation Process

November 7, 2023

An idea is only valuable when it has high feasibility and can solve real business problems.

Not only creative employees can bring a wind of fresh air into a business. Because according to research by Harvard Business Review, depending on the difference in thinking or strengths and weaknesses, each employee will contribute to the innovation process in different ways.

The model to “awaken” the innovation capacity of employees 

Normally, when it comes to innovation, businesses will immediately think of creative employees who often come up with new ideas. But an idea is only valuable when it has high feasibility and can solve real business problems. 

To maximize the innovation potential of diverse employees in the organization, Harvard Business Review suggests businesses the SMRT model with S-tructure, M-odel, R-eward and T-rain.

In the case of Spotify, the online music platform places great emphasis on the “Structure” factor because they simultaneously manage various large and small projects, requiring the participation of a wide range of employees with diverse skillsets. This “Structure” factor plays a key role in building a team structure that matches the business’s desire for improvement. The Swedish “giant” created Echo, an application that organizes project teams based on the wishes of employees from all departments. This application ensures each project team always has enough employees with the necessary capabilities. 

At Apple, Tim Cook inherits and further develops a habit from Steve Jobs. It holds a weekly meeting every Monday to collect ideas from employees based on updates on the business situation – product development in this technology business. This is the “Model” factor – when leaders become role models and build a culture of improvement, clearly demonstrating what goals of the organization to employees. At the same time, by offering a $1 million reward in 2019 to anyone who can “hack” the iPhone operating system, Apple implement a system to minimize the risk of hackers stealing and selling user information while rewarding employees if they can express their innovation strengths. 

SMRT model can maximize the innovation potential of employees
SMRT model can maximize the innovation potential of employees.

Identify 4 types of innovators 

Businesses need to understand their current human capital to apply smoothly the SMRT model. Specifically, businesses need to know what types of thinking and strengths the organization’s workforce possesses. From there, businesses can identify the missing trend group and add it to their force. 

According to Harvard Business Review’s research on 112,497 employees from 84 countries, all employees are “creative, innovative experts”, with just 4 different approaches. These 4 groups of experts include Generators, Conceptualizers, Optimizers and Implementers. 

“When the market is lacking innovative directions and approaches, the SMRT model is truly a breakthrough for Vietnamese businesses to test and awaken innovation capacity. But this is just one of many unique approaches that global innovation organizations are adopting. Depending on the capabilities, needs and goals, businesses will need to choose the innovation models that best suit them.” 

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, Deputy CEO of Talentnet Corporation

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