5 steps to 360° sustainable innovation for schools

5 steps to 360° sustainable innovation

What is a IMS?

An IMS (Idea Management System), a continuous improvement (CI) process to crowd source smart, innovative ideas from the Students (or Staff) that when implemented would lead to incremental improvements across Teaching, Learning and Evaluation (TLE) techniques, thereby scaling up the quality and efficiency of the overall study environment and the school itself.

Why do we need a IMS?

The basic philosophy behind IMS is to inculcate curiosity, passion and entrepreneurial thinking amongst the students (and staff) with a key purpose to find meaning, interest and develop their interest in taking ownership and driving improvements across their study environment and therefore growing and moving the school to greater heights.

At the same time, IMS is intended to drive co-creation and collaboration amongst students (and staff) by allowing hundrerds of diverse ideas to be shared, voted, commented as well as rated, reviewed and the best ones amongst them rewarded with a token of appreciation. This also enables fostering a healthy environment where students (and staff) are able to be an active part in the implementation of those ideas and the actual decision-making process, thereby promoting a strong culture of identification, commitment and ownership, a powerful asset for them to build and develop their future career.

Besides, the IMS process, being open to all (even the non-teaching staff) will not only bring about better communication but also help nurture a greater unity and belonging amongst the students, teachers and the support staff, something that will propel the school towards a safe, harmonious and highly sustainable successful position.

What is a suggestion / idea / CI initiative / kaizen ?

A suggestion is any idea (a problem, issue or even a help request) that is shared by a student (or a staff) with an objective to bring about an improvement (or a better resolution) of his / her study environment or any aspect of the teaching, learning and evaluation process.

Each such suggestion would lead to improvement in any of the areas such as safety, efficiency, cost savings, environment, morale, learning, quality and productivity either at a class level or at a school level.

How to setup a IMS process?

It is important to note that setting up a IMS process is extremely simple and easy once there is a strong buy-in and commitment from the top management of the school. It is possible to adopt a paper, email and excel based system but again it must be noted that these systems are very difficult to scale and they begin to fail quickly due to the short comings such as being prone to re-work in data management, huge delays, lack of accountability and not being transparent enough to the end users and then they eventually die out.

Here are the 5 Key Steps to implementing a robust IMS process:

STEP 1 : DEFINE IMS POLICY

Define and Communicate the IMS Policy

Create a simple, clear and realistic document that defines the end to end work flow for sharing ideas, rating and reviewing them as well as the “rewards and recognition (cash or in kind)” that would be given to the smart ideas and smart idea givers (individual or in teams). Make sure that the policy document is reviewed carefully and then finally publish and communicate it to the staff and the students (parents) community using the best possible channels.

Leave a link to the FaQ section on your website dedicated to address the frequently asked questions to allow visitors and users to get answers to their common queries. Identify a dedicated Email and Phone number for users who wish to discuss or brainstorm anything that lies outside those FaQ’s.

STEP 2 : SMART GOVERNANCE

Define Key Strategic Innovation Areas and establish the Innovation Team

As a key top management authority and responsible for the success of the school, you will need to define the key strategic innovation areas where the school needs to generate ideas that can lead to overall development.

  1. Identify the goals for the next 18 – 36 months and setup the Strategic Innovation Areas. These areas would be the top pillars such as People, Products, Process and Profits and would be containers for the idea campaigns that would be periodically launched once the system is in place.
  2. Identify the model in which you wish to create the digital suggestion boxes (based on section, class, department or even category e.g. Teaching, Learning, Evaluation, Extra-curricular etc.)
  3. Pick the Suggestion Box Owners (SBO’s) for each of the boxes and also form a group of two or more committee members that would be assigned the role of reviewing and rating the ideas. Also setup the Suggestion Committee Head person who would be finally approving the rewards and presiding over all the key decisions.
  4. Ensure that each of the above members are educated, trained and allocated of their specific RASCI (Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted and Informed) roles for each of the tasks and duties towards the IMS process.
  5. Do a trial run of the “Indonis – Smart Ideas” digital system with a pilot group of 20-30 users across students and staff community and evaluate the results to make the necessary configuration adjustments to the system.

STEP 3 : LAUNCH IDEA CAMPAIGNS

Create digital Idea Campaigns and launch them across the school
This is the step where digital tools are to be leveraged to design and launch creative, smart idea campaigns (a time bound out reach activity) with a specific problem or initiative as the “challenge” or a light-house to crowd source ideas from the entire student (and staff) community.
Each idea campaign will have a campaign manager (a responsibility) to be assigned to one of the Innovation Team members  to drive the engagement and accoutable to the outcomes. These digital campaigns can very well be supported with real world events on the floor in terms of contests, events and talks to drive up the awareness and momemtum across the school.

STEP 4 : CELEBRATE SMART IDEAS & SMART PEOPLE

Crowd source smart ideas, reward and recognise the best ideas and people

An all-inclusive IMS policy will mean hundreds of ideas from all corners of the school, be it the parents, students, teachers, non-teaching staff, visitors and even the vendors that provide services and consultancy to the school. Using the Indonis digital work flow, the ideas would get routed to the right team as part of the end-to-end work flow. The best ideas that need to be nurtured and implemented are converted into Idea Projects again with the right support from middle and top management and tracked right through their successful implementation activity.

Regular events such as “Idea Awards Event” etc. need to be planned to keep up the general excitement.

Basically each idea is evaluated on following key parameters;

  1. Contribution to the school learning environment
  2. Implementability
  3. Cost savings / cost avoidance / new business revenue

The evaluation of an idea can either be based on Metrics (tangible and non-tangible) OR on the Idea Evaluation parameters as defined in the IMS policy. Based on the type of method used, the users would either be rewarded in cash or kind OR allocated idea points to be redeemed against cash or kind gifts as per the policy and discretion of the school and the innovation team.

STEP 5 : MEASURE & MONITOR RETURN ON INNOVATION (ROInn)

Measure and monitor the Return on Innovation

Deep insights and detailed analytics data is captured by the Indonis tool and over 30+ MIS reports are available for the school management to review the effectiveness and engagement levels of the system. All MIS reports are both in real time and historical and even at a week-on-week level to help determine a clear picture of the progress the end users are making and if not, the management has enough data to identify the root casue and take corrective actions.

The 360° Innovation Radar helps to compare different departments, classes or even groups on the 12 key metrics to get a perfect picture about how the peer level departments are performing and thereby create and push for opportunities to engage and collaboration for cross pollination of best practices.

Key Success Criteria

For the IMS system to be successful here are some key things to keep in mind.

  1. Top management commitment and support is key and crucial for the system to take off and deliver the desired results. For this if the school’s top management can personally participate in the events and encourage the students (and staff) for their achievements as well as share key mantras on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, invite the best idea givers to present their ideas to the entire school, it would go a long way in establishing a strong innovation culture across the school.
  2. Care must be taken to give utmost respect to the context in which ideas or problems are being shared and appropriate counselling has to be provided if there are differences over the evaluation results or in case any idea is being rejected, sufficient justification needs to be given so that the morale of the ideator is maintained. In most cases (except duplicate) all ideas are accepted and appreciated in some form as a way to encourage the young innovators.
  3. Ideas if not responded in time would result in bottleneck and overall loss of interest amongst the students (and staff). The Indonis platform allows you to set the key SLA time frames for moving an idea from one status to next. These must be at all time followed by having a strong discipline amongst the committee / innovation team. Certain non-negotiable rules need to be defined up front and practiced.

About Indonis – Smart Ideas

Indonis Smart Ideas is a mobile and web based cloud software for driving 360° innovation across the school. A well defined idea to implementation work flow with the ability to notify and keep all the innovators in sync ensures that there is total visibility and transparency in the entire process.

Further, each user is able to track status of an idea, comment and discuss in case there are any queries or provide supporting evidence or material. Tools such as news, blog posts, photos, videos and quiz help promote various activities that lead to creative thinking and extend and improve existing ideas.

Indonis is a bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom approach towards driving innovation. You can find more about the platform on the website over here – http://www.indonis.com.

A FREE 30 day trial is available for any school that wishes to try out the platform for a small group of students (and staff). The platform engagement team ensures an extremely smooth onboarding including the identification and resolution of all gaps and queries that could arise during the trial program.

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