Monday, August 11, 2008

Is your Organisation Haunted?

Some organisations are haunted. However, the ghosts are not the remains of deceased workers who wander the hallways searching for peace. In fact, these ghosts are ideas. The haunted organisations are those ones which do not have a well-functioning idea- or innovation management system. Ideas turn into ghosts when the employee who had it has tried - perhaps repeatedly - without success to get it noticed by the organisation. As a result, the idea can find no peace, but instead continues to haunt the company and the mind of the person who came up with it.

These ghost ideas don't appear at midnight or at full moon. Instead, they show up when the organisation starts an innovation initiative. Then, the ghost ideas awake and try once again to be heard.

Ghost ideas can be a problem in an innovation workshop, because they carry a psychological burden. Sometimes their inventors try to use the workshop as a platform to force them onto the participants or to complain loudly that their great idea has never been accepted in the past. Often, the ghosts are an idée fixe for their inventors, who cannot get them out of their minds and who are often obsessed with them being declared the winner this time. This can also frustrate the other participants ("Not that again!") Ghost ideas are thus a danger to any innovation workshop.

The ideal solution to this problem is of course to have a well-run idea- or innovation management system installed, which easily accepts all employee ideas and gives fast, transparent feedback on their current status. The goal is that every participant feels that he/she can be heard and is being taken seriously by their organisation. In the case of a rejection - which is ultimately the fate of the majority of all ideas - the reasons must be stated clearly and comprehensibly to the submitter.

Of course, it is not easy to achieve this ideal solution - and it can certainly not be achieved quickly. Therefore, it is often up to the scriptwriter and the facilitator of the innovation workshop to write and produce an event which minimises the dangers of ghost ideas - without of course discriminating the haunted participants in any way. Besides - perhaps the timing is now perfect for one of those ghost ideas!

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