John Moore of Brand Autopsy posted an excellent story a couple of weeks ago on how Rite-Solutions harvests ideas from its own employees. The quote (of a quote) which I personally liked the best is from James Lavoie, one of Rite-Solutions co-founders:
"We’re the founders, but we’re far from the smartest people here. At most companies, especially technology companies, the most brilliant insights tend to come from people other than senior management."
Being a founder of a company, I could not agree more. The founders may have the best ideas at the early stages of the company, and they definitely usually have lots of other qualities such as persistence, leadership, foresight, luck, etc which are as important for the survival of a young company as are its ‘ideas’.
But as the company grows, I truly believe that "the most brilliant insights tend to come from people other than senior management" (excuse the repeat quote… I simply couldn’t have said it better…).
Moreover, I think that external outsourced "experts" are probably the worst possible source for ideas for the company (though they’ll show great powerpoints arguing to the contrary, and will charge enough $$’s to make it seem like they know what they’re talking about), as are in most cases the company’s clients. But I’ll keep these two groups for a different post… In the mean time, if you haven’t done so already, head to the always excellent Brand Autopsy to read about Harvesting Collective Genius.