Staff Innovation Program – My Hypothesis

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by Azrin Ahmad Zahdi (Egon) – Consultant, Sageconsulting Sdn Bhd, March 2017

Disclaimer: The hypothesis is created based on desktop research, personal observations through 8 years of consulting experiences and an opinion survey in a government agency.

Have you heard of organisations established in the 50’s, 60’s and even the 70’s facing challenges in handling Gen-Y and Z employees? I believe that 90% of such organisations face similar problems due to the generation gap – the younger generations are more technologically-savvy compared to their predecessors. So how do leaders narrow the gap and create a harmonious, innovative and more conducive environment in the organisation? One of the answers could be the Staff Innovation Program.

As a simple definition, Staff Innovation Program can be defined as a structured conducive working environment for the staff which inculcate a productive and innovative culture throughout the organisation. Staff Innovation Program is expected to enhance happiness, staff satisfaction and productivity of the workforce through innovation.

The backbone of Staff Innovation Program can be defined in six key elements that been represented in the following figure:

Azrin ArticleInfrastructure & Physical Environment

Contributors for innovative environment in terms of basic physical and organisational structures and facilities needed for the operation of an organisation. For examples:

  • Vibrant work station
  • No walls concept
  • Rest & Relax areas
  • Ideas room
  • Up-to-date technologies

Work Culture

Character and personality of an organisation are determined by the management and are coloured by the uniqueness of its values, attitude and beliefs. Work culture can play an integral role in creating staff innovation to ensure comfort and openness for staff in being creative and giving ideas. For example:

  • Structured approach in generating ideas and solving problems
  • Continuous quest for improvement
  • Transparency
  • Flexibility
  • Openness
  • Jovial and fun

Policies and Procedures

Flexible policies and procedures is one of the elements that can help to spark innovation in an organisation. Some of the innovation-related policies and procedures are:

  • Casual dressing
  • Flexi working hours and environment
  • Allocation of working hours for innovation

Rewards & Recognition

In order to encourage the staff to participate in innovation programs, a rewards and recognition system need to be established in an organisation. Rewards and recognition can be implemented in the form of:

  • Innovation convention and awards
  • Profit sharing scheme from innovation
  • Immediate recognition for innovative ideas

Leadership & Management Style

Leadership and management style plays a vital role in supporting the success of Staff Innovation Program. Some of the leadership traits that are pertinent to staff innovation are:

  • Supportive and willing to listen
  • Regular interaction with all staff
  • Open door principle

Innovation Career Path

Creating a career path that includes innovation element such as creativity, structured approach, teamwork etc. The innovation elements should be given due weightage in staff career path such as:

  • Recruitment process
  • Training and development
  • Succession planning
  • Performance assessment

Based on a survey done in a Malaysian government agency in 2016, 100% of the respondent agreed that all six elements are essential in creating staff innovation, camaraderie among staff and creates happiness in the organisation. Elements such as work culture, reward and recognition and infrastructures and physical environment should be given more emphasis when developing Staff Innovation Program.

For more details on activities under each elements of Staff Innovation Program, please contact us at or call us at +60379540010

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