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Ideas Are Free

Book Description

A worker in one of Europe's largest wireless communication companies stumbled across an error in his company's billing software, fixed it, and saved the company some $26 million per year. A secretary at Grapevine Canyon Ranch proposed a simple change to the company's website that brought the site to the top of search engine listings. A guard at the Massachusetts Department of Correction saved the prison system $56,000 a year by suggesting the use of digital cameras instead of film to process new inmates.

From simple ideas for saving time, effort, and money, to entirely new ways of doing business, front-line employees see a great many opportunities in their day-to-day work that their managers don't. Drawing on extensive research and experience in more than 300 organizations around the world—and including numerous illustrative examples—Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder show precisely how to take advantage of the virtually free, perpetually renewable resource of employee ideas. Ideas Are Free shows managers how to tap all the ideas their employees have and gain significant advantage over their competitors.

Table of Contents

  1. COVER PAGE
  2. TITLE PAGE
  3. COPYRIGHT PAGE
  4. PREFACE
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  6. CHAPTER 1 THE IDEA REVOLUTION
    1. WHAT’S IN AN IDEA?
    2. HOW IDEAS DRIVE A CULTURE OF HIGH PERFORMANCE
    3. THE NEED FOR MANAGERIAL HUMILITY
    4. WHY ORGANIZATIONS NEVER RUN OUT OF IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
    5. OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK’S MAIN POINTS
    6. CONCLUSION
  7. CHAPTER 2 THE POWER OF SMALL IDEAS
    1. EXCELLENCE DEPENDS ON SMALL IDEAS
    2. SMALL IDEAS AND RAPID ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING
    3. SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
    4. HOW SMALL IDEAS LEAD TO BIG ONES
    5. THE TRUE CURRENCY OF MANAGING IDEAS
    6. KEY POINTS
  8. CHAPTER 3 THE PITFALLS OF REWARDS
    1. SOME INCONVENIENT EVIDENCE
    2. WHY DO PEOPLE STEP FORWARD WITH IDEAS?
    3. THE INVISIBLE COSTS OF REWARDS
    4. REWARD SYSTEMS THAT WORK
    5. KEY POINTS
  9. CHAPTER 4 MAKING IDEAS EVERYONE’S JOB
    1. “IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO THINK”
    2. MAKING IDEAS PART OF EMPLOYEES’ WORK
    3. MAKING IDEAS PART OF THE WORK OF SUPERVISORS
    4. MAKING IDEAS PART OF THE WORK OF MIDDLE MANAGERS
    5. MAKING IDEAS PART OF THE WORK OF SENIOR LEADERS
    6. MAKING IDEAS PART OF THE ORGANIZATION’S WORK
    7. KEY POINTS
  10. CHAPTER 5 PUTTING THE PROCESS IN PLACE
    1. CHARACTERISTIC 1: IDEAS ARE ENCOURAGED AND WELCOMED
    2. CHARACTERISTIC 2: SUBMITTING IDEAS IS SIMPLE
    3. CHARACTERISTIC 3: EVALUATION OF IDEAS IS QUICK AND EFFECTIVE
    4. CHARACTERISTIC 4: FEEDBACK IS TIMELY, CONSTRUCTIVE, AND INFORMATIVE
    5. CHARACTERISTIC 5: IMPLEMENTATION IS RAPID AND SMOOTH
    6. CHARACTERISTIC 6: IDEAS ARE REVIEWED FOR ADDITIONAL POTENTIAL
    7. CHARACTERISTIC 7: PEOPLE ARE RECOGNIZED, AND SUCCESS IS CELEBRATED
    8. CHARACTERISTIC 8: IDEA SYSTEM PERFORMANCE IS MEASURED, REVIEWED, AND IMPROVED
    9. KEY POINTS
  11. CHAPTER 6 FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
    1. CHOOSING WHAT TO FOCUS ON
    2. MAKING FOCUS A WAY OF LIFE
    3. KEY POINTS
  12. CHAPTER 7 GETTING MORE AND BETTER IDEAS
    1. HOW PEOPLE COME UP WITH IDEAS
    2. IDEA ACTIVATORS
    3. HOW TO BROADEN EMPLOYEES’ PERSPECTIVES
    4. IMPROVING ALERTNESS TO PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
    5. KEY POINTS
  13. CHAPTER 8 LIBERATION AND TRANSFORMATION
    1. IDEAS AND ATTITUDES
    2. IDEAS AND RESPECT, TRUST, AND INVOLVEMENT
    3. IDEAS AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS
    4. HOW IDEAS COUNTER LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
    5. IDEAS AND A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE
    6. PARTING THOUGHTS
    7. KEY POINTS
  14. NOTES
  15. INDEX
  16. ABOUT THE AUTHORS