How to run an ideas campaign that really pays off

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Should you run an ideas campaign? Yes! Several major organisations have found ways to generate significant improvements to their bottom line through imaginative ideas, schemes and campaigns. However, there are ways to maximise results from your ideas campaign. We have a look at them here.

Make it worthwhile

Most organisations operate an employee suggestion scheme, but few organisations would claim that theirs was a massive success. There is another way to do this and that is to focus on the process for a short period and make it everyone’s responsibility to generate at least one idea. It is also important to make sure that every idea is recognised with a small token.

For example, for the first idea you may be given a pen, a second idea generates a mug, a third idea may lead to a book.

The prizes must have some value. In addition, the originators of significant money-saving/income-generating ideas must be rewarded.

What do you need to do?

• Publicise the campaign in advance and make sure that it has visible top level backing.

• Make it as fun and exciting as possible.

• Run the campaign over a short focused period, e. g. two weeks or a month.

• Make sure everyone knows that it is their responsibility to submit at least one idea. • All ideas should be recognised as being valuable.

• At the end, after selecting from all the ideas submitted, have an awards ceremony and present the winners with valuable prizes.

• Create a method to categorise and appraise ideas and make sure that the resources are made available to manage the process.

• Senior management should be involved in the approval process so that quick decisions can be made on implementation.

• Everyone should get feedback on the outcomes of their ideas.

• Advertise the successes.

What are the benefits of an ideas campaign?

• A low-risk approach with a potential high pay-off.

• Workforce feels empowered and listened to.

• Improved morale and job satisfaction.

• Reduced costs.

• Creates a positive, can-do attitude.

• Programme paid for by results.

• Improves communication and trust between management and staff.

• Easy to run and manage.


Companies who have run variations on this type of scheme report significant results. For instance:

• Harley-Davidson saved $3,000,000 in 30 days.

• The US Army got 530 ideas in three weeks.

• The US Park Service made over 12,000 suggestions with an approval rate of 75%.

This article has been kindly contributed by Eden Tree.

Anne Sexton

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