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Idea Management as a Motivational Tool in SMEs: Purpose Beyond Paychecks and Profits

By Lokesh Venkataswamy, CEO, Innomantra

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India are facing the challenge of motivating their employees and aligning individual goals with the goals of the firm. This is a particularly pressing issue in the post-covid world, where individuals are more cognizant of their frailty and are looking for ways to make their lives more meaningful. In the past, work was seen as something to be tolerated in order to enjoy a more fulfilling life outside of work. However, now increasingly, employees are looking to work for organizations that provide a purpose beyond paychecks and profits.

Creativity is powerful tool for both motivation and alignment. When employees are encouraged to contribute innovative ideas, they are suddenly given a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. This breaks the monotony of their day-to-day tasks and aligns their interests with those of the organization. It also shows employees that the organization values their ideas and is willing to listen to and implement them.  One way that creativity can be turbocharged in the organization is by implementing idea management systems.

However, poorly designed idea management activities can be detrimental to employee motivation. To avoid this, we propose the following 4 step process (Identify-Communicate-Inspire-Incentivize) to improve engagement, enhance alignment, and unleash the power of ideas:

  • Identify and address the root causes of low engagement, such as lack of recognition or poor communication. Step in and solve these issues before beginning an idea management initiative.
  • Communicate the organization's goals clearly and regularly to ensure that employees are aligned with the broader goals of the organization. The employees should clearly understand how the idea management initiative benefits them personally, and the company.
  • Inspire employees to step aside from their comfort zone and embrace change and innovation. This will allow them to share their tacit knowledge and experiences to foster a culture of innovation and learning.
  • Incentivize employees to participate in idea challenges using as rewards and recognition. Unlike bigger companies, in SMEs, tools such as ESOPs may not be available to align incentives for employees with shareholders.

The age of change we are living in has made innovation a mandate for all firms, regardless of size. However, SMEs often lack the resources to implement many employee-motivational activities. This is where idea management systems can play a crucial role in fostering motivation and alignment in SMEs.

To learn how leading Fortune Global 500 companies such as ABB, Bosch, Google, Samsung, and NetApp have used Innomantra's Functional Innovation Methodology to turbocharge their idea management process, schedule a meeting today at