One point we here at SoapBox make time and time again is the importance of properly framing the scope of your employee idea program. Using a spot-on framing statement to define, direct and sustain an idea drive isn’t some abstract exercise. It has a direct impact on whether your program will hit a home run or strike out.
The most specific, employee-facing application of the general frame for your idea program comes in the form of the framing statement. This is the message that prompts your employees for ideas when they use your idea platform. In two sentences, it tells employees the bigger-picture purpose of your innovation push, and then outlines just what kind of ideas you’re looking for, making sure their submissions are focused and actionable.
If your framing statement is winner, it turns each employee who steps up to the idea-submitting plate into a potential Babe Ruth.
If it’s poorly defined or vague, it’s like sending your players to bat holding a hockey stick — not good.
Nailing the framing statement requires a bit of thinking on what kind of ideas you want from your innovation community (the topic statement) and how employees will interpret that message and respond (the call to action part). Get it right with these helpful tips.
Connect your topic to organizational key priorities
This way the ideas will be useful, and not stray off topic. For example, a hospital may choose as its topic “At Happy Hospital we aim to provide the best in patient care.” This stage ties in with setting clear goals and strategy for your idea program.
Make it understandable for all employees
Don’t pick a topic that will work for employees in a certain area/knowledge level but exclude others. One good technique to avoid this is by putting yourself in the shoes of someone at the most junior level, then ask “will they get this or will it sail over their head?” If the answer is yes, make it more general.
Keep your call to action specific
Don’t leave people guessing. The call to action is the next natural step after setting the topic, and should give clarifying details about what you’re looking for. If the topic is the noun, consider the call to action the adjective. So take your topic and break it out a bit. Continuing the Happy Hospital example, their call to action may be “What are your ideas on how to create a supportive, comforting and reliable patient experience?”
The rule of 30 (words)
Keep the framing statement short. We found that around 30 words is the sweet spot for clarity and brevity.