Some companies call it “Innovation Day”, some call it “Hack Day”. It seems to have started out when companies like Yahoo!, Twitter and Facebook decided to set aside a day to let their employees work on anything they want, beyond the scope of their ongoing responsibilities and work functions. At first this applied primarily to engineers and information technology workers (hence the term “Hack Day”), but now the notion of a day set aside to deliberately think outside the box is catching on with all sorts of businesses.
The goal is simple: Spark the creativity your employees possess and see what happens. Freed for a day from the ongoing routines and pressures of the workplace, employees may surprise you with ideas they have to move your business in a new direction or to find additional, revenue-generating uses for your product or service.
But “New Idea Day” has other benefits, as well:
Boost morale. You can invite employees to work on their own or as part of improvised teams. When employees from different departments collaborate on an idea they might not have come up with on their own, you never know what could happen!
It’s fun. Maybe it’s not as light-hearted as the annual employee picnic, but given the right encouragement and freedom, you’ll see your staff enjoying the creative process and the freedom to come up with any kind of wacky idea that enters their heads.
Remember – the whole idea of “New Idea Day” is that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. And if your company culture generally tends toward close project management, this is the time to just let it go. Not everything people come up with will demonstrate instant ROI, and new ideas might prove too cumbersome or impractical to actually pull off. But this is the day to encourage the positive and let the negative go for another time.
On the morning after “New Idea Day”, collect all the inspired ideas and give them to a selected panel of two or three employees or supervisors to review. Out of dozens that people have come up with, you may find only a handful with promise. But the opportunity for employees to explore their creative side (without consequences) and to work together on a fun project is well worth your company’s time and resources.
At High Profile Staffing, we believe that passion and fun help bring out the best in your employees. Find out more.