Do we need a day for innovation?

16 Feb 2017

Today is Innovation Day apparently, something I’ve only really found out about this week.

The whole idea behind it, according to this article, is to encourage your customers and team members to set aside a day to think about new ways to improve your processes, products, and…well…just about anything they can think of.

It’s a great idea, but my question is: why should it be restricted to just one day?

Set Aside One Day a Year

I can see the benefit: dedicating time to innovation will place an emphasis on it. People will spend their whole day thinking about what improvements can be made and start laying the groundwork for these. When you’ve got a busy office like we do, it can be difficult to find time to really think outside the box. Setting aside a whole day for it would definitely help.

Make it Part of Every Day

On the other hand, there is an argument that great ideas stem from uncovering a need or missing element. As soon as you find this stumbling block, you then set aside time to consider the best way to solve it or improve on what is already there. This means that your innovation is spread across the year, leading to the right things being addressed at the right time.

What’s Best?

There are pros and cons to both options. Setting aside a day could be disruptive, but somehow freeing. Encouraging constant innovation may mean more little interruptions, but you’d be addressing things as they come up.

We try to foster an environment of constant innovation, encouraging all employees and customers to suggest new ways to improve OpenCRM as a product, as well as our processes. This results in the regular development of new enhancements and features, but doesn’t always produce the real out-of-the-box, wild ideas the way an innovation day might.

Our Solution: A Compromise

So we’ve come up with a mini-solution to this conundrum.

We keep up with our open door/open mind policy: everyone is encouraged to suggest new features as they think of them. This has worked well for us so far and we think it is an important part of our process.

But, once a month, we meet up as a company to share new pieces of development, talk about our newest projects, and generally have a catch-up to let everyone know what is happening in different departments. We call these “Show & Tell” sessions.

One of these is actually happening this evening.

So I’ve decided to set aside a small part of our February Show & Tell to have a mini-brainstorming session and see how many wild ideas we can come up with. From now on, this will be an element of each and every Show & Tell.

Instead of an Innovation Day once a year, we’ll be having a 12 Innovation Chats throughout the year.

If you’ve got an off-the-wall idea that you’d like to suggest, we’d love to hear from you: