In the world of idea management, innovation, employee suggestions, or if you want to call it Continuous Improvement, management can make or break the success of a program. It is very often that we hear about programs that got started with a BANG and ended with a bust.

Any system, program or process that an organization wants to adopt, needs to be adjusted to its business processes in order to achieve sustainability. If it’s not, it will be sidelined and ignored by the organization. The main reason… it will create extra work which may not be viewed as value added to organization goals.

The reality is that innovation, cost cutting, and continuous improvement activities are critical to remaining competitive, and therefore the ‘extra’ work required to run one is necessary. These activities have to be viewed by an organization as being as important as other business-critical functions in order to succeed.

It is imperative, for that matter, that upper management take active part in the development, implementation, and running of a suggestion system. A suggestion system, if implemented correctly, must be woven into the corporate culture. Management must ensure procedures are compatible with organizational goals, and they must hold stake holders accountable for the success of the program.

Perhaps the five most important tasks that management must perform to make a suggestion program successful are:

1) Encourage and support participation in the continuous improvement and innovation process.
2) Prioritize idea implementation.
3) Encourage innovation and creative thinking.
4) Recognize the good ideas through rewards or congratulatory activities.
5) Allocate the resources needed for investing in ideas and rewards.

Management MUST manage and facilitate the resources and time necessary for their team to properly engage in the process. Managers know that one of the most dangerous things regarding a suggestion system is the effect it can have on employee moral if it is allowed to disappoint on high expectations. Not managing a suggestion system can degrade the products and services the organization is providing to the market thus undermining its competitiveness and profitability.