Innovation – Why My Idea Matters


I recently read an article about innovation in the Star Online Business News on how Nestle Malaysia rolled out changes that have seen benefits in terms of cost savings and innovation. Alios Hofbauer Managing Director of Nestle Malaysia engaged all 6000 employees to think about waste.

“We began to save when everyone in the company started to think about how to avoid waste and work smarter”

Nestle Malaysia employees submitted 50000 improvement proposals and saved £24 mil (RM134mil) in 2013 by implementing the proposed changes.

Simplistically this equates to 8 proposals submitted per person subsequently generating a saving of £4000 per person in the first year. What actually made this world-class is that Nestle Malaysia has achieved similar results again and again.

We know that to sustain competitiveness, leaders must engage everyone and make it clear that eliminating waste and improving operations is not optional.

But engaging people to implement improvement ideas in the work place isn’t easy because if it was everyone would be doing it. Coming up with ideas to improve is the easy part, that’s called being creative. Innovation, on the other hand is “creativity implemented”. Innovation is about putting an idea into practice and adding value. Ideas are created through thinking while innovation adds value by acting on the idea. Without innovation, an idea remains just an idea.

Innovation in the workplace really matters.

So creating a culture where employees have a say in the improvements in their workplace increases the level of ownership of the organisation vision, values and goals

Everyone sees real waste and real opportunities in their workplace every day and so their ideas matter. Every idea that improves the workplace is important, no matter how small.

Ideas should be about making my job easier, quicker, better, safer and less wasteful. If I am encouraged to improve my life at work, I’m likely to come up with ideas that will benefit my team, the business and me.  What this actually means is that I am solving problems and making improvements that benefit everyone.


Leaders have to take responsibility for creating the culture that honors innovation and supports implementation.

To innovate must become part of every employee’s job.  innovate

Just think, if every person in your business submitted one £100 improvement idea each per month and 80% are implemented, then your business would achieve significant savings. Think about it – a business with 100 employees could save £96000 in one year. Who wouldn’t want that?

What experience have you had of an innovation management system that really works?

Terry Johnson