The first part of this Innovation in DOTS topic gave a brief outline of the use of DOTS LMS as an ‘innovation incubator’ to support and sustain innovation processes in an organisation. I discussed how a client began the process with a learning and communication strategy to align their people with the purpose of the new focus on innovation in their organisation. It is important to emphasise that this company is looking for innovation at all levels of the organisation and to as many different business processes as possible. The obvious targets for innovation tend to be products and services, however this company identified that many of their systems and processes were no longer ‘best practices’ and tended to be the way they had been doing things for quite some time.
The company established a simple electronic form for capturing ideas. This form was developed and deployed using the DOTS Survey Tool. People can go to the form and enter in some basic information about the idea using simple click and short text responses. The surveys are reviewed and vetted by senior managers who are able to access these in DOTS. The review cycle is fortnightly currently with a montly cycle planned after the first twelve months. The current ratio is 8 out of 10 ideas submitted warrant further development. The current rate of submitted ideas is between 4 and 6 per month.
Once and idea has been approved to be developed, it is entered into DOTS LMS as a ‘course’ to facilitate communication and distribution. The courses vary in quality. At the outset they were mainly text based with an imgage or two. Now there are short videos, pictures, diagrams, mindmaps etc. that are used to illustrate the status quo and the forecast changes if this ideas were implemented. Most of the ideas/courses are distributed company wide although a few have been very specific warranting viewing only by direct stakeholders; e.g. changes to data entry procedures in the ERP system.
Once the courses are completed, each person is enrolled in the course and are able to view the course within a timeframe using DOTS Sessions. Once they have viewed the course they undertake an ‘assessment’ that provides immediate feedback. Attached to the course are a Discussion Forum and a Library. The Discussion Forum permits those with some passion for the idea to further engage in its development or otherwise. The Libary provides background information, papers, research and other materials to provide a comprehensive means of documenting the innovation project.
If an idea continues to be developed based on feedback and assessed worth/benefit to the company, a Group is established in DOTS that included persons comprising the project implementation team for that idea. In most cases the project teams have included a wide variety of membes with particular passions and interests; in a couple of cases the team has been comprised of persons with specialised expertise or skills.
Ultimately the innovation will be communicated and training undertaken in DOTS LMS. We have linked some of the innovations to the Position Management feature in DOTS as well as linking behavioural and skill based Competencies to the Performance Appraisal system in DOTS. This comprehensive approach provides further scope to ensuring this vital strategic initiative is not lost or wayward due to lack of visibility or poor execution.