GPI 105 – Retain rejected ideas and suggestions and have a second group review them.

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Never throw ideas away, even ‘bad’ ones — they may only be ‘bad’ to you.  Take the time to have your rejected ideas reviewed a second or third time to provoke more ideas.  Keep them on an accumulated list and get them out a year later to throw on the table.  Why?  Markets change.  Popular colors and patterns change.  Uses of products evolve.  Telephones are used to not only make calls, but play music, games, or access the internet.

Ideas come from all sources.  You may make an argument that your engineers are paid to come up with ideas but that is only part of the solution.  It is short-sighted on your behalf and that of many managers across industry.  You miss the point that ideas stem from many sources.  You must be willing to grab them from wherever they sprout.  Ask for advice and ideas from everybody, in and outside the engineering area, employees and vendors, customers and, yes, competitors.

Ask for input from people you would not consider.  Ask visitors.  Ask the vendors who are in your office nearly every day and see multiple customers’ facilities.  They may not be able to tell you much if they only call on one or two customers, but those sales people that call on ten, twenty or thirty customers each week immediately can recognize and identify better operating procedures, unique equipment or machinery or possibly far better running organizations.  Ask not just your sales personnel but seek feedback from their contacts for blunt perspectives and what those acquaintances honestly think.  They will appreciate the attention and may yield some good ideas that you can use you would normally not hear.  You have not seen what these business people have seen traveling from company to company.

Set up a different review group with members from varied backgrounds and skill sets.  Include sales people not asked before and members of quality control.  Include an accountant and a human resources clerk.  Ask someone from security and one of your truck drivers to be included in the group.  Have this collection of people review and analyze previous submissions that were not considered valid six months ago.  Do not bias their answers by telling them these ideas were rejected.  Ask them simply to give their initial reaction and keep quiet.  Hear about what they see that you missed.

Changing members ensures new ideas/opinions.  Reviewing suggestions a second and third time over a period of time will draw different comments and possibilities every time they are discussed, especially if the members are rotated.  Make sure the group does not know the age of these submissions nor any previous comments made about the ideas.  Present them as if they were turned in the previous day.

Request idea submissions from your secondary group; yes they are eligible for payouts!  Your group as it changes will have ideas about old ideas.  Take them and encourage them to write them, document their explanations and encourage them to turn them in.  You do not care where great ideas come from; all you want is to generate new ones and must ensure that flow continues pumping into your firm.

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