McKinsey Quarterly published an article “The social side of strategy” that includes examples how companies can leverage the wisdom of their own crowd (employees) into their strategy planning, also gaining organisational alignments in the process. The companies are:
HCL Technologies an indian IT service company switched their business planning process from top-down to bottom/middle-up by having 300 manager proposing business plans and allowing the 8000 employees (from any departement) to review and directly provide inputs on each plans.
“Because the managers knew that the plans would be reviewed by a large number of people, including their own teams, the depth of their business analysis and the quality of their planned strategy improved. They were more honest in their assessment of current chal- lenges and opportunities. They talked less about what they hoped to accomplish and more about the actions they intended to take to achieve specific results.” At the conclusion of the inaugural My Blueprint process, there was broad consensus that participatory business planning had been far more valuable than the traditional top-down review process.
RedHat an opensource software provider defined aera of exploration and setup multi-displinary team to work on 5-months ‘open’ company-wide idea generation phase which lead to 9 refined strategic priorities. Team leaders were then empowered to execute fleshed initaives without further approval.
Red Hat’s vice president of strategy and corporate mar- keting, Jackie Yeaney, cites three key benefits of the company’s new approach: first, the process generated “more creativity, accountability, and commitment.” Second, “By not bubbling every decision up to the se- nior-executive level, we avoided the typical 50,000-foot oversimplification” of issues. And third, “We improved the flexibility and adaptability of the strategy.”
Rite-Solution a software provider for the US Navy used a game based approach to harness the wisdom of their crowd. They created a stock market game where legacy programs and new programs competed for cash and talents. Each employee had a virtual $10,000 to spend. New project starts at $10 a share. When a project ‘stock’ gains momentum and makes it to the top 20, it is brought to life and the investors get a share of the profits.
The internal market for ideas has bolstered the com- pany’s pipeline of new products, and the 15 ideas the company has thus far launched as a result now account for one-fifth of Rite-Solutions’ revenues. Some of the blockbusters were generated in unexpected places— including Win/Play/Learn, a Web-based educational tool licensed by toy maker Hasbro. The source of the idea: an administrative assistant.
Talking about gamification, this is a clever way to bring the fun factor into the priorisation process.