In the first of a series of blogs, Richard Harrison of Boost & Co partner Geminus Training explores the ways in which businesses can achieve unparalleled growth.
What’s the difference between innovation and employee engagement? Before you think too hard about this, it’s not a joke and there’s no great punchline. But there is a connection which can help you grow your business - substantially - without the need for extensive management time and support. Over a series of blogs we’re going to tell you how you can grow your business by utilising something amazing that you’re already got.
You’ll start to understand some basic techniques to improve employee satisfaction, contribution, engagement and productivity leading to a business which grows by itself. The biggest problem with innovation is that it’s become a buzzword that many companies and people just use when they want to sound leading edge, state of the art or modern. Let’s get this totally straight: innovation is a cross cutting discipline that involves a very wide range of skills. That’s why we’re totally clear on what we provide - ORGANISATIONAL innovation.
That’s not developing new products, science or technology - it’s about helping people develop their businesses for the better. Innovation is rarely a tangible asset and isn’t high on the wish list when you’re talking to MDs, Ops directors, HR directors, Procurement directors and most other key decision makers.
Sure, we all want to be more innovative but don’t always connect this to the benefits that it can bring. In 2014 I completed a study in Innovation Skills for Lancashire County Council and made a discovery which led me to take a deliberate shift in a slightly different direction.
I found that while the US and UK governments were focusing their innovation activities on the old sci-tech agenda, the Australians took a different approach. Thinking they couldn’t compete with Hong Kong in the tech arena, they announced that Innovation should be more about people - 'any person in any business can suggest an idea which will make the business better.'
They absolutely nailed it. This caused my shift towards 'organisational innovation' and the development of my philosophy that 'the growth of a business is driven by the knowledge, experience and creativity within the workforce.'
Many managers want to develop more dynamic and innovative organisations, but don’t have the time. Combine this with my belief that most employees tend to work to their job descriptions and leave 80% of their life knowledge and experience behind when they go to work, then we’ve got a large creative space to help improve personal performance and contribution within businesses.
This came to fruition when we delivered a workforce support programme to a client to help their staff think more creatively. They reported back to us that they solved a specific problem for a mere £5, which the management team had budgeted £15k to resolve - they achieved this by using their wider knowledge, experience and creativity and thinking outside of their job description.
But that wasn’t the best bit - they told us that when the staff walked past the £5 solution they smirked at the managerial offices, in a show of self-appreciation. They were proud of their solution, and wanted to do more to show what they were capable of achieving.
Other staff members noticed this new 'swagger' and wanted to become involved. Before long, the workforce began solving an array of problems within the business and identifying several new opportunities to do things better, faster or in a more cost effective manner - without being asked.
The impact of this was instrumental - firstly, the organisation began to self-heal minor problems and become more productive, and then it began to develop and grow without the need for extensive managerial input. In addition, we saw new bonds between people and teams. They all started working TOGETHER. We’ll be revisiting this example a few times over the remainder of these blogs.
So, by allowing the workforce to think for themselves and capitalise on our three key factors - knowledge, experience and creativity - we were able to help companies:
If you’d like to know more about how Geminus Training can help your business prosper, please feel free to contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.