Businesses in the UK are missing out on an average of 18,000 opportunities a year to boost their bottom line because they are failing to listen to their workers’ ideas, according to new research by Wazoku.
The research, which surveyed cross-sector organisations with an average of 5,200 employees, as part of the EveryDay Innovation Report, reveals that the average UK worker typically suggests six innovative ideas to improve the business each year. Less than half of these ideas (43%) are acknowledged by their employers, meaning that thousands of ideas and opportunities to improve are being missed by UK organisations.
On the upside, of the ideas that are acknowledged by a business, more than one in three (39%) are implemented and positively impact the way the organisation works. This proves the urgent need for a culture of innovation to be baked into the everyday working practices of an entire organisation, otherwise known as EveryDay Innovation.
The research exposes a clear lack of processes within businesses to harness employee ideas effectively. More than half (52%) of employees believe that although their organisation is full of people with great ideas, there is no established process for ideas to be shared and filtered. 59% of respondents reported that suggestions they make about improving business processes often go totally unnoticed.
Many UK businesses are also failing to establish cultures that foster and promote innovation across the workforce. 65% of employees believe not enough is done to encourage them to contribute in the innovation process. In terms of the key challenges for workers in sharing ideas, a lack of innovation culture comes out on top with 37% saying that shared ideas are lost or unacknowledged; 27% saying there’s a lack of interest in employee ideas: and 27% saying there’s a lack of incentives to share ideas in the first place.
Stuart Eames, Operational Improvement Manager at Waitrose said, “I would urge all businesses to take innovation into the centre of everything they do, so it’s accessible for all, in order to capitalise on the wealth of ideas at their fingertips.
“In just 18 months, Wazoku’s idea management platform has enabled us to generate significant cost-savings through the initial wave of ideas implemented. We’ve received an average of over 22 innovative new ideas a week since launch, demonstrating just how engrained innovation now is into everyday working life across the organisation.
The research also demonstrates a general belief among UK employees in the value of working productively and collaboratively and in using their skills to impact business objectives. 91% of senior and middle managers, 91% of managers and 87% of non-managers agree that small ideas can make a big difference to a business.
The EveryDay Innovation Report argues that more needs to be done to assure employees that they can personally impact business objectives with innovative ideas. To tap into their knowledge, the innovation conversation for businesses must become more focused around driving tangible results, fuelling growth and creating competitive advantage.
Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku said: “EveryDay Innovation is a war cry for organisations who understand that they need to innovate but despite their best efforts, are still struggling to turn their aspirations into action. It is an ethos, a new perspective and a guide for every organisation seeking to embed a high-performing culture of innovation.”
Cris Beswick, Innovation Expert and Guest Lecturer at Cranfield University added, “Innovation is like teenage sex; everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it.
“Through my work with CEOs and senior teams in a variety of settings, I know how important the first step is as organisations start to make innovation a real part of everyday business life. That’s why the EveryDay Innovation Report stands out. It goes beyond reinforcing the importance of innovation for business, and actually starts to address that all important ‘how to’ question.”
The EveryDay Innovation report, a study on a selection of UK-based business leaders and workers, produced by Octopus Group in conjunction with Cisco, Waitrose, Great Places to Work, The Future Shapers and sponsored by Wazoku, was conducted in August & September 2015 and comprises the insights of over 1,000 people from across the spectrum of UK business.
Methodology for leading stats:
A UK organisation with over 500 employees is typically ignoring 18,000 ideas a year
Workers of UK organisations with over 500 employees suggest six ideas on average a year, according to Wazoku’s survey. The average sized company which survey respondents work for has 5,200 employees. Therefore, the typical UK business receives 31,200 ideas on average a year. However, only 43% (13,416) of these ideas are acknowledged and just 39% (5232) are implemented. Therefore the number of ideas lost in the process, on average, is 17,784 or 18,000 (31,200 minus 13,416).
Methodology for company size:
All companies surveyed had over 500 employees – around half of these (48%) had 500-4999 employees, while 52% had 5000 to 1000 employees. Therefore the average sized company has 5,200 employees.