Friday, December 12, 2003 - The Value of Ideas author Michael Michalko has some interesting suggestions in this short article for those of you looking for ever more creative ways to reward employees for submitting ideas - although this article focusses on getting small quantities of ideas from salespeople - and thus some of these ideas stray far from the instrinsic/extrinsic balance necessary to get quantity, quality, and collaboration (remember - cash rewards breed competition not collaboration - and collaborative ideas are 75-80% more likely to be top ideas) - there are some very good ones in here too. For example:

- Design your own "Thank You For Your Suggestion" cards. Have them printed and distributed to your more frequent contributors. Ask the CEO to sign each card with a personal message. Stock up on instant lottery cards and include one or two in each card to show your appreciation.

- Offer "a penny for your thoughts." Buy a gumball machine and place it in your office filled with colored gumballs. For every suggestion (or every five or ten suggestions) award the contributor a penny to use in the gumball machine. Award a cash prize according to the color of the gumball that comes out ($2 for green, $5 for yellow, $25 for red, etc.). - Although this is cash based - the numbers are small and trivial enough not to have too deep an effect of collaboration - especially if you also allow everyone who worked on that idea a go ad the gumball machine too.

worth a quick glance

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