Unharnessing the innovative power and ideas of your employees is critical for a CEO. Doing so in a structured, scalable, and measurable way is the difference between outpacing the competition or falling behind. Does your management team have the skills and structure to leverage all the innovative ideas the organization possesses?

As the CEO, one of your core responsibilities is harnessing and utilizing the intellectual capital tied up in your employees. Not all market-defining and competitive differentiating ideas will be yours. But whether your company is fledgling or enterprise, the challenge of leveraging insights and ideas from across the organization is pervasive, regardless of size. Innovative go-to-market approaches may not come from the sales organization. Product ideas may not come from Product Management. An insight on how to better service the customer may come from a junior level support engineer with a different background and a completely different perspective on a customer’s experience requirement than someone that works in the field.

 

Read this article as an example of leveraging the field to make product enhancements.

 

The point being those insights are derived throughout the organization. How a company best captures and actions them ultimately determine the ability to survive and thrive.

 

You Win by Being Great in One of Three Areas

 

Market leaders have discernible differentiation in a select area. Your leadership comes down to being best in class in one of the three categories below:

 

  1. Product
  2. Customer experience
  3. Price

     

Whether you have the best product, the best customer experience, or the best pricing practices, being best is just a point in time. Constant innovation is required to stay ahead. As mentioned above, innovative ideas can be found throughout the organization. So how do you best leverage the ideas and put them into action to create market differentiation? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

 

  • Do you have a communication plan in place to distribute and share Market and Competitive insights to the organization?
  • Is there a reporting framework in place where the employees can review executive analysis of the insights?
  • How do insights tie back to revenue?
  • How do these ideas get prioritized?
  • Once the insights are prioritized, how are they disseminated and actioned?
  • Is there an agreed upon SLA that defines how new ideas will be handed off to different functional groups?

     

Capturing Market Intelligence Is Seen as Strategic, but Not Everyone Has a Plan

 

Maybe you have all the answers to the questions outlined above. If that is the case, you are way ahead of the pack. Most companies do not. And the shortfalls start with defining the goals around Market and Competitive Intelligence.

 

 

Yet collecting and measuring Market Intelligence from the organization is generally seen as important:

 

 

And the agenda is typically set by you:

 

 

You Know It’s a Priority, How Can You Get Started?

 

The data suggests, and you know inherently, that leveraging employee assets is critical to fostering innovation. But what are some simple recommendations? Here is a basic set of principles and actions to help you get started:

 

  1. Create an environment where insights and feedback are welcome across roles
  2. Build a dedicated team to collect Market and Competitive Intelligence as well as act as the collection point for employee ideas
  3. Utilize benchmarking statistics with this Cross-Industry Benchmark Assessment Tool
  4. Develop a reporting template
  5. Develop a reporting process
  6. Prioritize insights and make the roadmap transparent to the organization
  7. Assign Service Level Agreements between the functional interlocks in the company
  8. Have a defined, actionable plan

     

Your Employees Are Your Biggest Assets

 

You have heard it before. Qualified and motivated employees doing their jobs is your biggest company asset. But take it a step further. Utilize your employees to benefit you in ways outside of their daily roles. Employees bring a wealth of experience from outside of their jobs. Previous experience. Life lessons. Day-to-day interactions. Every person has a different perspective on how to approach a situation and solve a problem. And often it has nothing to do with their daily role within the company. This is a wealth of intellectual property to tap into! Recognizing the power of that is the first step. Putting together the framework and action plan behind it is what separates market leaders and laggards in the industry. Take the time to truly leverage your number one asset to its fullest.

 

SBI specializes in helping companies grow faster than their competition and the market. Building an innovation framework and process is one way we can help you make your number. Please contact us for more information.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc Odenweller

Winning by staying ahead in an ever-changing customer and competitive landscape

Marc brings 25+ years of hands-on experience in building and leading high-growth, venture-backed and large, publicly traded companies. His background in running sales and multi-national channel organizations provides a unique perspective for companies looking to leverage alternative global routes to market. Marc has worked at the initial stages of start-up companies, helping to build a scalable infrastructure for growth, as well as managing large company business units where companies were constantly optimizing growth models.

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