Dean Schroeder and Alan Robinson, the authors of Ideas are Free, recently launched their latest title, The Idea-Driven Organization. From their extensive research with organizations around the world, they’ve discovered that 80% of the best ideas to move any organization forward will come from the front-line workers, the people who are most in touch with what customers want and need.

As the leader of a virtual company with a fairly flat structure (we are all front-line workers, interacting with clients daily), I have been exploring how to bring Schroeder and Robinson’s insights into our work. Earlier this year, I invited members of my team (check out our new team page!) to identify and implement one big idea each. Megan decided to create a new task list in Basecamp for pitching our clients to media outlets. Amy suggested we try a new tool for Twitter (, which she introduced to the team with great success. I launched a member site for our subcontractor team and have been working (slowly) to create resources and training materials for onboarding new subcontractors.

The one thing I missed in encouraging implementation of these new ideas?

I failed to add structure to the process and follow through to see more ideas generated and implemented.

As Schroeder and Robinson noted in their book, “Leaders can only be as good as the structures and systems they set up to govern the way their organizations work.” Tweet this. This is true for a company of one, a company of 30, or a company of thousands.

If I want my team members to identify and implement ideas to improve our services to clients, I need to create structures and systems that encourage and provide follow-up for idea initiatives.

When I do, we will create and implement more ideas.

Tell me something! What systems have you created within your organization to encourage the implementation of ideas from front-line workers? Where do you find your best ideas? What action will you to become an Idea-Driven organization?

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out The Idea-Driven Organization. You can find great content from the authors on their website and you can learn from them by watching my webinar with them.