Tapping the Power of Ideas in Shared Services Centers

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Harnessing ideas and making them come alive can benefit global shared services organizations immensely. However, limited effort goes to cultivating and curating the best ideas that work for the business. Every organization, big or small, has creative talent and ideas can come from anywhere or anyone. Especially, in global shared service environments, great ideas can make a huge difference to the way operations run – smarter, quicker, cheaper and better. Often, idea generation exercises are run with the intent of gathering the ‘most’ innovative suggestions and stymie business outcomes. Also, with multi-geography centers appreciating the difference between ideas and suggestions can be tougher with cultural sensitivities. So how can global shared services centers go about tapping the power of ideas within?

Here are a few ways to make your global shared services make the most of idea curation and deployment.

  • Be inclusive when you seek ideas: One of the pitfalls of seeking ideas is when staff feel ‘unsure’ or ‘uncomfortable’ to share what’s on their minds. Helping employees understand that no idea is bad and every idea has merit, irrespective of the role or level it comes from.
  • Explain the context: Be transparent about the purpose and role of idea generation. Define what the organization understands as an ‘idea’. It can have different views in peoples’ minds. In addition, what your organization will go with their ideas and how they can collaborate. There are options to legally sign-off their ideas to the organization or co-own the idea and share the benefits. The second option accepted since staff have a stake in the outcomes. Articulate the process and steps and give control in the hands of employees to shape their ideas – either on their own, with teams or through crowdsourcing.
  • Build an engine: Without the infrastructure to manage curation of ideas, the process can quickly get undone. The apparatus to filter, facilitate, surface and shape the best ideas can help make the process efficient, simple and swift. There is no point having ideas, which are stuck in red tape.
  • Have a plan to sustain interest: People are busy and coming up with ideas isn’t the first priority. Generating interest and engaging staff to improve the experience of their customers while they go about their work requires focused attention. It is best to have a network of idea champions across the business teams. Coach them on how to identity ideas and breathe life into them.
  • Showcase intent: To inspire others to participate, it helps to demonstrate that the ideas generated are contributing to the business. Recognize staff whose ideas added value to the business. Share stories of their passion for work and providing ideas to further the organization.

Global shared services centers thrive on great ideas that solve critical business problems. Investing in people who are curious, creating an environment that encourages innovation and demonstrating true intent to make ideas come alive will bring immense benefits to organizations.