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Drive Innovation with Data

Mike Bloomberg has written an interesting post on LinkedIn explaining how “following the data” is key to driving innovation and success in any company, large or small.

Collecting and measuring data, he argues, allows organisations to identify problems or opportunities, innovate solutions, and measure outcomes to manage performance and achieve success.

He uses the example of his organisation Bloomberg Philanthropies which Fast Company ranked the world’s second most innovative company behind Google, for “doing good methodically.” He describes how they collect data both to identify urgent needs and evaluate their progress in addressing them. For example, since taking measures to address the illnesses caused by smoking, he claims their efforts have helped pass sixty-one new control laws in forty-one countries, helping to protect 1.5 billion people.

He offers this piece of free advice: “No matter how big or small the organization, following the data is crucial to innovation. A talented team and strong partnerships are essential, but if you can’t measure your performance, you can’t manage it.”

Undoubtedly he is right, but how do you get this data? After all, most people are not Mike Bloomberg — in command of an organisation influential enough to measure success by tracking how many laws they convince governments to pass! What’s missing from his advice is some down-to-earth guidance on how the rest of us can get that data we need to drive innovation.

Thankfully there are solutions for the everyman, and they hinge around harnessing the greatest resource any organisation has — its people. Whether your organisation is large or small, profit or non-profit, there are internet media platforms that can increase innovation by enabling employees — who encounter the data and the problems in their respective fields on a daily basis — to put forward new innovative suggestions for evaluation in a virtual creative space, and to improve how things are done.

These ideas can then be supported or opposed by their colleagues with a simple voting system, and everyone can give input and feedback, which allows the idea to be challenged, improved, and finessed before it gets passed higher up the chain. This means managers won’t be overburdened with ideas that aren’t up to scratch. If and when the idea gains enough support, it’s packaged up with all its supporting data and channelled to the organisation’s decision maker(s) who can then assess it and provide feedback as required, completing the loop.

This empowers everyone in the organisation from the ground up, giving employees a way to create change, take ownership, improve productivity, and influence decisions, while providing decision makers what they want — a supply of good pre-tested ideas, supporting data, and the means to motivate staff and create an evolving, innovative organisation in which people are engaged.

If you’re looking to boost innovation in your organisation, these new technology platforms provide a means to share and assess the key information that will drive it.

Harness the power of employee ideas.