This Forbes article about Bayer AG’s system for encouraging and using employee suggestions to innovate the company, demonstrates how valuable an organized innovation program can be. The system, called “Triple-i: Inspiration, Ideas, Innovation.” is much like a highly sophisticated suggestion box with a well-oiled system to decide which suggestions to follow and which not to.
Employees submit their ideas through the company’s intranet portal and all ideas go directly to a team of innovation experts at corporate. They then ask five questions:
- Is the idea feasible?
- Is it really a new idea?
- Is there a need in the market?
- What is the benefit for the consumer?
- Does the idea fit with the company’s focus, mission and portfolio?
By answering these questions, Bayer’s innovation team can identify opportunities and those ideas that just would not benefit the company, would not help the consumer or would just not be possible.
In hospitality, who better to identify innovations than the people who have their finger on the pulse of what guests need? Line staff, managers and everyone in between hear daily what guests want and are the ones executing service every day. In an established hotel, restaurant, spa or cruise line, very rarely are innovative ideas ‘from the field’ heard or realized as everyone tries to get through the busy operational day. Think about the time and money saved if a few of the great ideas from servers, assistant managers, interns or housekeepers were heard and implemented in not just one, but all of a company’s properties.
Most hotel companies have an intranet. So why not create a simple form and enable any staff member to log on to a computer to provide an idea? Then, set up a team a small task force that reviews the ideas and determines whether they should be put to action or not.
While we may not be creating translucent snowboards like Bayer; innovating systems, products and processes can certainly make a huge impact on how hospitality companies approach the guest experience. And employees knowing that their innovative idea is now being used company-wide can be very rewarding in itself.