Interesting idea in David Berkus’s HBR piece on innovation. He writes that companies often think that to be innovative means they need more ideas, but really they need to be better at recognising ideas that are already there. He mentions an idea market:
Rite-Solutions has set up an “idea market” on their internal website where anyone can post an idea and list it as a “stock” on the market, called “Mutual Fun.” Every employee is also given $10,000 in virtual currency to “invest” in ideas. In addition to the investment, employees also volunteer to work on project ideas they support.
If an idea gathers enough support, the project is approved and everyone who supported it is given a share of the profits from the project.
In just a few years, the program has already produced huge gains for the company, from small incremental changes to products in whole new industries. In its first year alone, the Mutual Fun accounted for 50 percent of the company’s new business growth.