• Long Term Success

Promoting Your Innovation Program

In this guide, we provide strategies for achieving sustained engagement by internally promoting your Innovation Program, using Kindling Posts, video, and your own marketing tools.

You've implemented Kindling, congratulations! Now you’re on your way to building an environment where employees have a voice and can directly help improve your business by sharing their insights and experiences. To kick things off the right way you should run a Campaign. Your topics might include “How can we better serve our customers?”; "How do we cut costs"; “What should our goals for the year be?”; or “How do we improve our current product offering?”

Now the challenge is how do you motivate your employees to not only contribute an idea, but remain actively involved in the conversation by voting, adding their own unique perspectives, even drawing in new participants to contribute to the conversation. One of the primary ways to drive this level of engagement is by internally promoting your Innovation Program. Internal marketing is your “call to action,” an opportunity to set the context of the program: What is this thing and what are we trying to achieve?

The Power of Internal Marketing

Visualize a new Campaign you are going to roll out that asks, “What are the most wasteful things we do as a company?” Now imagine presenting the question at an all-hands meeting and including a supporting video where the CEO announces this new Campaign, talks about why this Campaign is critical to the business, why your ideas can help shape the culture, and how the Campaign is in line with corporate and strategic goals for the coming year. Presented in this context, your Campaign injects the added energy of your own enthusiasm as well as the excitement of working collaboratively towards a shared objective. Internal marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire employees and motivate them to become innovators.

Here are some of the most powerful ways you can use internal marketing to sustain engagement:

Introduce Kindling to Your Community

An in-person introduction to Kindling from the CEO signals buy-in from the highest levels of management and indicates that innovation is part of your overall corporate strategy. Depending on your company culture, you might reach out to all employees at once or to specific teams individually.

In many organizations, a town hall meeting, attended by every employee, is a key event for communicating your corporate strategy. This is is the perfect venue to present your innovation goals to your entire community and explain how Kindling is part of realizing that vision.

In other company cultures, approaching individual groups might be more effective. Reach out to individual teams to talk about how your innovation program is especially relevant to them. They’ll appreciate the personal attention and make a meaningful connection between their team strategy and the company strategy overall. Start with the teams who have been most vocal about ideas they’ve had, and get their feedback about Campaigns you’d like to run.

Record a video of your CEO to use in a Post as an introduction to Kindling. Every employee, current and future, will know why this is important to the company.
If working with individual teams, give each one the opportunity to design and manage their own Kindling Campaign.

Announce Kindling in a Company Newsletter or on Your Intranet

If your employees are already tuned in to your company newsletter or intranet, an announcement in one of these is a great way to publicize your innovation efforts. Include a link to Kindling as an easy way to immediately get employees engaged.

Continue to take advantage of these communication channels to announce upcoming Kindling Campaigns, showcase the most engaged participants, or highlight Ideas that were successfully implemented.

Brand Your Innovation Program

Giving your Innovation Program a name and a theme makes it easier for you to talk about the program and to rally participants. This extra investment in internal marketing also demonstrates your organization’s commitment to making your Innovation Program successful.

Choose a theme which embodies the creative spirit and the culture of your organization, or challenge your marketing team to develop one. Then use this theme to customize your Kindling and spread the word with posters, announcements, and even branded prizes. A good example, one of our customers named their innovation program the “Idea Greenhouse.” To encourage participation, each employee who signed up for Kindling was given a plant with the slogan, “Watch Your Idea Grow,” printed on it. This created a unique experience around joining Kindling and served as a lasting reminder for each participant to stay involved in the program. It also sparked curiosity among employees who were not yet participants. They saw the plant on a colleague’s desk, read the call to action, and immediately wanted to know more.

Don’t have a name for your Innovation Program? “Help Us Name Our Kindling” makes a great first Kindling Campaign! It gives participants the opportunity to shape your Innovation Program from the start, and is an easy entry-point into using Kindling.

Publish Kindling Posts

Posts are the primary means of broadcasting information to your Kindling users. They represent an internal marketing tool built directly into Kindling that can be used to introduce initiatives, kick off Campaigns, motivate participation, and celebrate wins. You can include images, video, and other media in your Posts for added impact.

When launching your first Kindling Campaign, write a Post which describes how the goals of this Campaign fit with your overall innovation strategy and how Kindling will be used to help achieve those goals. Also use this as an opportunity to communicate to your team how they fit into this larger initiative. Consider adding video to better personalize the message and inspire your team.

You’re walking around with a powerful promotional tool: capture a direct, personal statement with your phone and add it to the Post.

(See Sample Posts below.)

When a Campaign comes to an end, use a Kindling Post to celebrate wins and showcase the most impactful Ideas. Record a video of the individual who submitted the winning Idea to your Campaign for use in a Kindling Post. Recognizing participants and celebrating wins will help motivate employee engagement.

Link new users to your introductory Kindling Post so it’s the first thing they see when logging in. This provides context for their interaction with Kindling. Ask your dedicated Kindling Account Manager for help in setting this up.

Sample Posts

Sample #1

Welcome to Kindling!

If you are reading this, you are the harbinger of good... no... GREAT... ideas! Ideas can be as simple as a single thought, but when shared amongst a global community of your peers can transform into solutions to problems that can directly impact our projects around the globe. The only problems is, where can you go to share these ideas? Where can you go to grow and nurture ideas into solutions? Until today there were too many forums for that: Chatter, email, water cooler chat, IM/Lync....These are all very EXclusive means for communication. They don't engage a broader audience who may be able to help turn a single sentence into a reality. They are not INclusive….

Enter Kindling…. Kindling is a new application that will allow us to source ideas from around the globe and, with the support of our peers, turn those ideas into applications. The process is dead-simple. First you enter a “New Idea.” Next you can socialize it (send links in Chatter, email, what-have-you) so that others can “vote” on your idea. Others can comment on your idea in a threaded conversational manner to help flesh it out even further. Then we can take the most popular and active ideas and make them a reality.

It’s really that simple….

Now you can also start to browse the various ideas and categories for ideas that you think are worth pushing forward. You should comment, attach documents, socialize, and vote on those ideas to help your peers turn them into a reality. All votes are anonymous and you have a fixed number of votes (don't worry, you get your votes back once the idea has moved into the workflow or closed).

What are you waiting for???

Sample #2

Dear Colleagues:

I’ve now met with over 400 of you in small meetings to discuss our strategy and state of affairs. They have been robust and interesting conversations about our growth initiatives and legacy businesses, our culture, and our future. We will be announcing more dates for these meetings soon and hope you will participate.

In those conversations and others, several of you asked how to share your ideas with me and with the other leaders in our company. Starting this week we will all be able to use the Kindling platform, described in detail below, to propose both big ideas and small improvements.

For big ideas, there will be a new Kindling category called Growth Initiatives. Here we are looking for ideas that have the potential to attract a large user or customer base. Please ask yourselves: What markets are we well positioned to enter? What paid product should be developed next?

Think big.

A small team will review and respond to all submissions. Promising ideas will be allocated resources as stakeholder if we pursue your idea. I know that schemes for new ideas have been tried before—this time we want to make it real and inclusive. In the meantime, please log in and explore the Kindling platform.