Monday, March 10, 2008

"Delegating" Creativity


The world of web 2.0 is all about free exchange of ideas. Places like Everythingcu and banktastic are great examples of this on a large scale. What about on a small scale?

Most institutions are inherently hierarchal in their creative process. It is left on the shoulders of a few high level employees to come up with new products and campaigns. How much easier would it be to allow every person in the institution to have a say in this creative process? To delegate some of the creative "work" to internal resources.

Especially in larger credit unions, there is so much untapped creative power sitting on your teller line and in your member services department. Many of these employees either feel intimidated by bringing ideas and opinions directly to the President or Vice President, or they simply just don't have the time to set aside a meeting and work out ideas.

I believe there is a solution, and it lies in current computing tech. How much easier would it be to create an environment for creativity if there were a place for everybody to have open discussion and idea exchange, all without leaving their desks.

Implement an intranet for all employees that integrates some type of message board, or even better, blogging software. Create a place that employees can share their ideas for the institution when they have a few spare minutes. Instead of going through the trouble of setting up a meeting with "important" people and taking time away from their desk and leaving a department short handed, employees could post their ideas and have discussions within this forum with these higher level execs. Think of it like a transparent, two way suggestion box.

Something like this could also be a great influence on getting and keeping younger employees. As I stated in this post, Gen-Y employees feel like they should have a chance to change things right off the bat. We have grown up in a culture of change. We love feeling like we make a difference. What better way to encourage this than by creating an open environment internally for these employees to express how they think things should change.

Creating an open environment for change and creativity can help you institution stay relevant, as well as keep your employees happy and feeling like they make a difference no matter what level position they hold. Get people involved at a higher level of the credit union movement and you just might end up with evangelists instead of employees.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea. I love it. How about such a site for not only employees, but also interested members to contribute their ideas too?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is similar to what you were thinking, but Geezeo uses a site called Campfire to talk with their customers. This could possibly be an internal tool as well.

Andy said...

I love the idea of doing something similar for members as well, but I'm not sure that many members would take the initiative to post unless it was tied into some bigger campaign or they were offered some incentive for doing so.

I wish everybody was like you and I and really cared about their influence on the credit union as a member, but I think most people don't know or don't care. Any ideas on driving people to such a site?

Also, I love Geezeo, I've only used it lightly, but what I've seen, I love!

Brent Dixon said...

One of the biggest ways to stifle creativity and innovation in any business is to demand that people stayed in their silos.

Good call.

Brent Dixon said...


We use Campfire for all of our cross-country Trabian meetings, and have an always-on Campfire room for our developers to collaborate (it is titled "Volcanic Island Fortress"...I'm not sure why, but I bet the explanation is nerdy). It has been a really good tool for us.

Also, 37 Signals' Basecamp has changed the way we do business.

Andy said...

Campfire seems awesome. I know some places are considering using GoogleSites, but I don't have had a chance to check it out much.