We’re announcing a new program today, Kindling Loves Startups, where we’re giving away 50 seats of Kindling to any startup for free. This post gives some of the background for the program, why we’re doing this and how Kindling solves a real need for every startup.
I love startups. Everything’s ahead of them, they’re like an NFL team in preseason — all hope. We’re gonna win the Super Bowl this year.
Through the course of my work, I often get to meet startup founders. I always enjoy these conversations. If you ever are feeling tired or demotivated, have a coffee with someone involved in starting a company — their energy and optimism is contagious.
Navigating a startup from creation to success can be viewed as an exercise in expert decision-making. Choosing the right things to focus on — and the things to not focus on — might be the most important skill for startup founders and early employees. And I know from my own experiences starting companies that there is no shortage of things to do, and no lack of opportunity.
Think about that innovation meeting you have on your calendar that occurs every week or month. It’s a status meeting where you talk about projects, ongoing initiatives, or areas of focus. Then you think about him. He is the one that always speaks, takes over the whole meeting, and never lets anyone else get their two cents in. Usually the direction of the group goes with what he is saying, not because he always has the best ideas, but because he is the most vocal and outward to express his thoughts. Most people would agree this scenario is not the exception, but more so the norm.
To run an effective Innovation Program, you need input from everyone. There are many types of people in this world; there are probably hundreds of personality tests that dissect the makeup of humans and our behaviors. The reality is, not everyone will be as vocal as the person sitting next to them. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas, the likelihood is that they probably have some very good ideas, maybe even great ideas. Some people work best by sharing their ideas around a conference table and jockeying back and forth, while others are most comfortable by themselves in front of the computer considering their contributions. Neither is better than the other and both approaches provide valued contributions to the Innovation Program.
Many people avoid saying “no”. We strive to please our peers and our employees, and it’s often easier to say yes or ignore a request in order to avoid conflict. But when it comes sustaining an innovation program, saying “no” is a necessary and powerful force.
Two of the important purposes of an innovation program are to orient participants around the key challenges and opportunities facing the organization, and to give a voice to all members of an organization. And saying “no” is positive step towards both of these objectives.
First, on giving program participants a voice. Employment surveys consistently show that one of the things employees want most from their employers is for their ideas to be listened to. Listened to being the key part of that sentence. Employees are realistic, they understand the constraints facing their organization — time, people, money and competitive pressures. They want their voices to be heard; they want to know that the company they work for values their feedback. Management saying “no” is in line with this objective. Because “no” is a part of a conversation, “no” means someone is listening. Contrast this with the traditional ‘email inbox for receiving employee suggestions’ — the anti-conversation. Employees are unsure if anyone is listening to their ideas, they live in a void, a black box.
Remember that old saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? While I don’t know much about raising children – don’t worry, I’m not a even parent yet – I do know a little something about innovation and what it takes to nurture ideas into full grown projects (see what I did there?). As someone who is immersed in the planning of our product, I realize that it takes more than just one person with a really good idea to make great things happen. Kindling realizes that too, and that’s why users have the ability to volunteer for ideas they want to help accomplish.
Volunteering is an essential part of a healthy Innovation Program. Now it’s easier than ever to keep track of the ideas you’ve decided to participate in with our new “Volunteers” tab!
It all began with giving users the ability to volunteer and help in accomplishing their peers’ ideas. By selecting the “gear” icon within an idea, users can view a drop down menu with “Volunteer” as one of the options.
Innovation is social. That’s not only our company creed, it’s the sentiment echoed in every conversation with our customers. An idea may be innovative but it isn’t an innovation until there’s a forum for it be heard, discussed, vetted and implemented. Social Innovation Software provides that forum. It takes the collective brainpower of the people, YOUR people, and gives it a voice. It lends life and longevity to creativity. It turns the spark of possibility into a flourishing, sustainable reality. It is the crucial element that structures your innovation efforts and makes those endeavors a success.
We talk a lot on this blog about how our customers use Kindling but I wanted to zoom out a bit and focus on why our customers use it and why Social Innovation Software is essential to your business.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you need social innovation software:
Ideas (inspiration) can happen anywhere and anytime: You need a solution that captures true inspiration, whether it strikes in the office or on the go.
You’re frustrated with email: The volume of email in your inbox makes it hard to keep up. On the other hand, if you’re not cc’ed, you’re left out of the conversation. How many people that could have added value to the conversation were not part of it?