Collaborative innovation is developing in companies as they understand the benefits, both in terms of employee commitment and overall performance. This is why in this article we propose to go back to the basics: what is participative innovation and how to set up such a system?

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Definition ofcollaborative innovation

The association INNOVACTEURS, reference in the field and partner of Beeshake, definescollaborative innovation as follows:

"A managerial approach of collective intelligence which, in an open ecosystem, facilitates the generation of ideas, the implementation and dissemination of innovative solutions by all employees. It promotes the creation of value and fulfilment at work. »

From this definition, three interesting facts can be extracted:

  • collaborative innovation is a managerial approach. Indeed, as with any structuring process, it is essential to involve and get management on board. The managers in your organisation can give a considerable boost to your system. Conversely, if they do not believe in it, they can become formidable detractors.
  • All employees have a role to play. Collective intelligence is the key to your approach, and if the virtuous circle of participation is established, your employees will feel more involved, more listened to, and therefore more fulfilled at work.
  • It serves the performance of the company. Asking employees to come up with ideas makes it possible to resolve irritants and find solutions. Because "it is the doer who knows". In other words, the people on the ground are the most likely to come up with relevant solutions to problems encountered. These solutions enable you to improve products, services, well-being at work... In short, the overall performance of your organisation.

How to set up acollaborative innovation device?

Co-constructing your approach 

Your objective, by definition, will be to stimulate participation. To do this, we advise you to rely on co-construction. This means allowing all the actors in the innovation to feel involved from the start. This co-construction can take several forms depending on the profiles you wish to involve. For example:

  • Mobilise the communication and HR professions to build the meaning of your approach and its main principles.
  • Managers can be involved in the innovation process. Recruit them to the idea selection committee, and suggest that together they devise a selection process that is relevant and appropriate to your organisation.
  • Have you already identified ambassadors? That is to say, people who are already very enthusiastic about the process? Suggest that they co-construct the priority ideation themes during workshops. These are the subjects that, for them, need to generate ideas.
  • Employees can also participate in co-construction. What if, for example, you asked them to co-construct the innovation manifesto of your organisation?

The digital idea box, or innovation platform

Having the right tool is essential for steering and leadingcollaborative innovation. In the past, organisations had idea boxes to listen to their employees. Now, these idea boxes have been digitised to become innovation platforms. Here is what you can expect from your innovation platform:

For employees, managers and innovation ambassadors :

  • Propose ideas and build project teams
  • Enriching the ideas of other project leaders
  • Vote for their favourite ideas

For the members of the idea selection committee :

  • Define themes to frame the proposal of ideas
  • Customise the fields in the idea submission form
  • Moderating ideas through a flexible process
  • Manage the investment needed to develop the ideas, but also the projected revenues

Read also: 5 reasons to invest in an innovation platform

Animating thecollaborative innovation

Launching your approach is good, making it last is better! In order to prevent the wind from blowing and your employees from losing interest incollaborative innovation, don't forget to keep your approach alive over time. You can therefore plan a rhythmic calendar, made up of several types of action:

Imagine editorial events such as polls, surveys or interviews

And publish this content every week or month. These meetings are intended to highlight the value of the employees who are active incollaborative innovation, but also the projects they are carrying out. In addition, by regularly surveying your community, you will ensure that thespirit of co-construction that you have put in place continues. Ideally, these editorial meetings are held directly on your innovation platform. In this way, they encourage regular feedback from your employees in the space dedicated to innovation.

Conferences to inspire your employees

These conferences can be delivered by experts from outside your organisation, but also by its internal talent. Indeed, your company is full of experts in many fields. For example, offer one conference per month, broadcast live on your platform, followed by a debate between employees.

Collective intelligence workshops to help stimulate ideation

These workshops can take many forms and can take place face-to-face, remotely (digital format) or in a hybrid mode (phygital format). Often, it is a matter of bringing together a few people around an identified irritant, and getting them to think collectively about solutions. Moreover, if one or more solutions emerge, the workshop participants can become a project team.

Facilitate committees to follow up on ideas

Once the ideas have been proposed by the employees, you will have to lead the selection committee so that it can organise itself and choose the projects to be developed. You can then organise other workshops to help the teams to develop their project in concrete terms.

A regular newsletter

It will allow you tokeep your staff informed of the latest news on the ideas submitted and their possible development. Indeed, it is essential to communicate regularly on what is happening beyond the proposal of ideas: are some selected? Do some ideas emerge from the number of votes they get? Do others need support? Which ideas are developed? Your newsletter will allow you to keepcollaborative innovation alive in the long term.

Indicators to be monitored 

Thecollaborative innovation, it is controlled. Indeed, it is by following key indicators that you will be able to put in place a successful approach. Here is a list of some indicators that may help you:

  • Number of ideas submitted. To track the evolution of the idea submission over time.
  • Proportion of ideas published after moderation (if you choose to moderate the ideas a priori). This will allow you to check the relevance of the ideas proposed.
  • Ranking of the most active employees. This will allow you to value the most contributing people.
  • Most recurrent themes of ideas. To identify the priority themes for your employees.
  • Engagement rate. This will allow you to measure the overall involvement of your employees in the subject ofcollaborative innovation.
  • Estimated income. In order to measure how collective innovation can help you improve your company's performance.
  • Investment required. This will give you an overview of the investments needed to implement the ideas.

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