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Encouraging front‐line employees to rise to the innovation challenge

Naveed Moosa (Principals at Strategos, a Chicago‐based global strategic innovation firm)
Patiwat Panurach (Principals at Strategos, a Chicago‐based global strategic innovation firm.)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Publication date: 4 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

In the search for innovation, front‐line employees are usually not encouraged to be part of the creative team, even though they may have fresh ideas and genuine insights. However, front‐line employees, those closest to the customers and the work of delivering products and services, have fresh ideas and genuine insights. This paper aims to investigate this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The article describes how to create a complementary “Front‐Line Innovation” system for stimulating potentially valuable ideas and converting them to innovations that have an impact on competitiveness.

Findings

The implementation of a front‐line program involves a set of six components applied systemically and thoughtfully: people, process, tools, technology, governance, and metrics.

Practical implications

The Front‐line Innovation program surfaces new leaders and gives them the tools to create and act on ideas that are aimed at the most difficult problems facing the organization.

Originality/value

The article shows that a creative front‐line employee is a potent competitive weapon when supported by such a system.

Keywords

Citation

Moosa, N. and Panurach, P. (2008), "Encouraging front‐line employees to rise to the innovation challenge", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 4-9. https://doi.org/10.1108/10878570810888704

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited