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Snowball Ideas: The Key to Sustaining Innovation

Memories of winter may be slowly fading as the temperatures continue to rise. But one takeaway from the season that we enjoyed was that launching an idea program was very much like building a snowman.

Where do you start? How do you start it?

Step 1: The Right ConditionsSnowball-Ideas-weather

Not just everyone can build a snowman. First, there must be enough snow on the ground to build the snowman. Next, ithas to be just the right temperature outside so that the snow sticks together and does not flake apart. Then, you will also need a host of other tools such as gloves to keep your hands warm, a jacket, snow boots, and so on. These foundational pieces are key to you starting and completing your snowman, just as a strong foundation must be present in order for your idea program to be a success.

Step 2: Making the SnowballSnowball-Ideas-snowball

Building a snowman takes a lot of work, but it begins with the smallest of snowballs. Just like innovation, you have to start with a small snowball idea. As you pack more snow or resources onto the snowball, it becomes larger and greater as you roll it across that frosty snowscape or throughout the organization. It may be challenging, and the snowball may fall apart, but once you have that first ball complete, you are ready to begin building that snowman.

Step 3: Building the Snowman

How you choose to construct your snowman or how many balls you add to create the body is entirely up to you, much like any idea program. You only have to go as far as is feasible with an idea. The key is to have employees witness the success that comes from starting with a smaller idea. They will feel inspired to contribute—perhaps add more snow or help you push that snowball around so that it becomes larger. As your idea program scales, you will need the collaborative efforts of these key members to help push these ideas forward.

Winter may not be at the forefront of your mind at this time of year, but innovation within your organization should be. Look for the small, well constructed snowballs in the mountain of ideas you have received and start there. If you are not sure where to go with it, ask your employees.

Innovation is not an individual effort; it is a team effort where everyone can celebrate in its success.

Harness the power of employee ideas.

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