More brains are better than one! In big bureaucratic companies, ideas from a single executive tend to cross the finish line without resistance if you’re higher up on the food chain. For our company to grow – we empower teams and groups of individuals to invest in brainstorming unique ideas using the first principle technique followed by a healthy debate to let the best idea win. You can be drafted at any time to contribute to a project or initiative outside of your normal scope of duties. Our core values were assembled by an eclectic group of nearly 40 global employees across every team to help us get to the final product that you are reading today. How’s that for crowdsourcing.
How we implement this at HighRadius
We run an efficient process where big decisions are made with a lean front-end digital collaboration process followed by a one-and-done meeting where the best idea(s) win.
Define the problem
The person responsible for the decision (the Moderator) sends a crisp write-up clearly defining the problem statement, the WHY and the desired outcome.
Drafting the right minds
The Moderator identifies a small group to crowdsource ideas from (5-8 people is optimal) without regard to role or level but instead based on who they believe can make a meaningful contribution to the discussion.
Ideate by applying the First Principles method
Each member of the brainstorming team is responsible for coming up with new ideas to address the problem using first principles. The first principles approach has been used by many great thinkers in the history of time from inventor Johannes Gutenberg, military strategist John Boyd, ancient philosopher Aristotle, and Elon Musk in the current era. Check out Elon’s youtube video to see how he applies first principles. Read this blog to learn more about first principles.
HighRadians are expected to apply ‘First Principles’ by breaking down the problem, identify potential solutions and build a rationale that they can defend in front of their peers. The opposite is ‘Reasoning by Analogy’, which essentially means blindly copying what others have done. While it is natural to take inspiration from proven business models/techniques, you have to be careful about the path you take. Every business is different. Reasoning by Analogy might be applicable at certain places but First Principles method is a lot more accurate to address the company’s unique situation through innovative solutions.
Once, each team member comes up with their idea(s), the crowdsourcing team submit it to an internal moderator before the discussion in writing. Submitting something in writing challenges the participants to organize their thoughts in a logical manner and do some deep thinking versus a verbal discussion where ideas are morphed and can be drowned out by those with the biggest personalities. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to take turns letting their idea(s) take the spotlight.
Each participant gets 7 minutes to present their pre-written idea. The rest of the participants can ask clarifying questions but cannot bias others by contradicting or supporting other ideas. After the presentations are finished, each participant will submit their vote to the Moderator by email or Hangouts and explain why. The participant cannot vote for their own idea. Let go of your ego! If your idea is truly the best, it should still emerge as the winner.
The Moderator shares the top 2 ideas voted and now an open debate is conducted where everyone can speak their mind. At the end, the Moderator makes the final decision after considering all of the write ups, votes and discussion points. After the meeting has concluded, the Moderator should send a follow up email with the final decision and why that idea is the winner.
This crowdsourcing and collaborative process ensures a reasonably strong idea will always emerge. If you can let your ego take the backseat, this allows the opportunity for another’s idea to steer your problem statement to the best solution. Leggo your ego and HELLO to new ideas!