We all have ideas…and wha do we do with ? We propose…but at one and only condition : manager must be informed but my colleagues must not know what I’ml thinking about and what I suggest.
Said differently: does making propositions public favor innovation ?
At first sight we may think it’s harmful. Because, to be able to dare to make a proposition, we prefer other people not to know it in order they wont’ judge us. I’ll be much more creative if I don’t have to face other people’s opinions.
But, at a second glance, we have to realize that privatizing the process, the discussions, does not favor innovation and creativity at all. Sometimes you don’t have ideas, nothing to suggest, but we can react to other’s suggestions and then have something new to birng in the debate. It doesn’t matter if your suggestion if not quite perfect because one could improve it. And, last, making the proposal process public makes it visible. Hinding it may not make people feel like participating, even though innovation comes from the diversity of expression and discussions about many point of view.
There are activities, like creativity or innovation, which are made valuable by the amount of contributions and ideas. Avoiding confrontation, discussions, exchanges, is counter-productive. So, the whole process has to be public, because what one says could help the other to improve his suggestion.
Unilateralism and privacy have nothing to do with innovation.
I’ll finish with this excellent example seen here[fr] . In his company they used to have a book where everyone could give ideas, discuss…it was not quite organized ut it embodied a living process. And it used to create proximity between those who suggested and the managers who answered.
They replaced it with an anonymous box where everybody droped his suggestion. It this time people stopped suggesting improvements…it was unpersonal and make improvement process look like a sum of individual secret proposal, not a collective process.
So nothing came from the box.