Put Your Web Designers on an Innovation Track

Only few of us have the skills to innovate alone. Web designers prefer joining organizations, where everybody pools his expertise with the others’ expertise, and work with collaboration to pursue goals that are sometimes impossible to achieve individually. It is the responsibility of the web designing company to set up an efficient infrastructure of support and co-ordination to establish a worthy innovation environment for the web designers.

The main purpose of this article is to show how your web designing company can adopt the organizational designs of the top innovative companies to make innovations happen by your web designers - it is quite useful and easy.

Put Your Web Designers on an Innovation Track

Put Your Web Designers on an Innovation Track

When we scour the top innovative companies of the world, we see that each company has learned differently from its long-time experiences and embodied their own specific practices within its organizational designs. They have also preserved these practices for decades, which helped them in achieving the much sought-after culture of innovation.

20% Time Principle – Inspiration from Google

20% Time Principle

In Google, all engineers are required to spend 20% of their work time engaging with new ideas. Every engineer has to dedicate 20% of their time to newly launched technical projects of their personal choice. Every employee in Google can submit their idea to a company suggestion box that is checked periodically.

Everyone is Creative:
Google engineers are responsible and offer incentives for being highly-active in promoting and testing fresh ideas and acquiring disciples to those ideas.

Management is responsible for bringing fresh business ideas to realization. Google has developed a strong liking for failure and chaos and pushes their employees to try out wild ideas.

Blog Everywhere They Go:
Each engineer develops stories on how these new ideas chip in to the Google objectives. Google blogs and officials share these stories everywhere they go.

Your Turn:
Announce an intense 20% time policy, adopting Google’s idea in your own setting, and ask your web designers to blog about it regularly. Look at this example of 20% time experiment and sharing stories http://blogs.atlassian.com/blog-cat/developer/ on their blog.

Inner Circle – Inspiration from Apple

Inner Circle

Hiring is the Key:
Hiring has been one of the primary responsibilities at Apple. Steve Jobs stated his vision many years ago in the 1980s:

"A players hire A players", he said while talking to the Mac team. "B players hire C players. Do you get it?"

Jobs retained his ideology that Apple should find and hire excellent people.

"My #1 job here at Apple is to make sure that the top 100 people are A+ players. And everything else will take care of itself. If the top 50 people are right, it just cascades down throughout the whole organization", as published in Time in 1999

Team of “A Players”:
Jobs formed an inner circle of a few selective members at Apple, which were most likely the same who used to meet Steve Jobs as the “Top 100”. Each year, Jobs used to invite these selected people for an extensive 3-day strategy session at a secret place. This meeting of high-profile 100 engineers had been an effective managerial tool for Jobs.

He and his “A players” used this tool to update their authoritative members about Apple’s next strategy. The luxuriant event used to give Jobs a platform to exchange his broader vision with Apple's next generation of management. Jobs revealed most of his bold new ventures in this meeting.

Jobs mentioned the group, not the secret meeting, many years ago. "My job is to work with sort of the Top 100 people," he told Fortune. "…when a good idea comes…my job is to move around…..get ideas moving among that group of 100 people." This helped him getting their feedback.

Your Turn:
Pick the best designers for your web designing company and form an “inner circle” of excellent designers. Exchange innovative ideas with them and let other employees follow the visionary leadership.

Getting Ideas from Outside – Inspiration from P&G

Getting Ideas from Outside

Procter and Gamble (P&G) had been investing almost $3 billion per annum on technology research, and hired 7,000+ people for this job. But, today, the company has introduced new ways of working.

The company is now, getting around 50% of its innovations from people outside the company. They discuss their fresh ideas with rest of the world, and take other people's ideas from very unusual places.

Like, the concept of Pringles potato chips with text printed on them was not introduced by the P&G researchers or scientists, but proposed by an ordinary bakehouse in Bologna, Italy, which invented an edible ink with application apparatus and method.

Printed Pringle

Your Turn:
Use web designers’ communities - or "crowd sourcing" - to get new ideas for innovation or to improve an already designed product. The frustration of the end-users who want something more or different will help in innovating.

There are many sites and tools that help web designers in getting users feedback. Check out the “Resources” section at the end.

Seed Capital Funding – Inspiration from 3M

Seed Capital Funding

3M is always referenced as a model of a consistently successful innovating company that has created a top notch innovative culture. 3M has around 50,000 products and still headed to innovate. The company has set the goal of getting one-third of its revenue from the items launched in the last 3 years.

Though, it is known for tempting employees to dig into ideas not related to their primary jobs, it is just one aspect of a highly complex culture. It enables employees to get along their ideas through phases of financing options, from seed money to greater resources, if the management is persuaded by the proposal.

Encouraging "bootlegging" Attitude:
There is a persistent effort to develop a feel for the company’s longtime tradition of highly regarding the employees who challenge the system, and the company’s principle of promoting "bootlegging" attitude, which helps them to get further with their innovative plans that could not get the company’s permission.

Your Turn:
Start up a Designers’ Innovation Research program allocating funds each year for research and development of the approved design projects proposed by your web designers. Put up a suggestion box or create an email address for your web designers to submit their innovative ideas.

Innovation Week – Inspiration from Xilinx

Innovation Week

Xilinx organizes Innovation Day, which is a platform for every engineer in the company to submit ideas that are different from those the company is working on. Innovation Day is an annual event, but the planning starts many weeks before.

If somebody comes with any proposal worth-consideration, an advisor with a good business or venture capital knowledge is appointed to facilitate the proponent in turning the idea into an appealing business model.

In one year, there are, sometimes, hundreds of proposals received from all across Xilinx. All are forwarded to an evaluation board, where the best 10 move to the execution committee. Higher management selects 2 or 3 for financing and support. One of the prerequisites for getting finance is that engineers should be ready to become part of the project.

Your Turn:
Plan an Innovation Day or Week in your company organized every 6 months or a year. Allow your web designers and other employees to submit design ideas. Create a mechanism for designers to think creatively and a platform for management to see what is considerable at the ground level.

Resources:

Below are few excellent sites and tools to get user feedback over your innovative design ideas.

Sites to get user feedback:

Please Critique Me
Please Critique Me

Concept Feedback
Concept Feedback

Five Second Test
Five Second Test

Notable App
Notable App

Concept Share
Concept Share

Suggestion Box
Suggestion Box

Critique the Site
Critique the Site

Proof HQ
Proof HQ

Feedback Army
Feedback Army

Tools to get user feedback:

Get Satisfaction
Get Satisfaction

Feedbackify
Feedbackify

Kampyle
Kampyle

Opinionlab
Opinionlab

Ideascale
Ideascale

Userecho
Userecho

Uservoice
Uservoice

Conclusion

You will hardly foster innovation if your web designing company’s practices and designers’ individual capabilities are out of balance. If your company’s policies do support and reward new product ideas, but the web designers lack the intense craving for innovation, your efforts for innovation will fail.

On the other hand, web designers with extraordinary innovative minds are often repressed by the company’s bureaucracy or due to the drastic culture of idea killing. To achieve the true outcomes from the above mentioned innovation creation ways, your web design company needs to create a synergy of web designers’ individual skills and organizational design.

Want to suggest some other excellent way to create an innovation culture for web designers? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Onextrapixel.