SMEs, if having some kind of focus on innovation, have established formal processes, probably because a management consultant convinced the owner to do so.
Innovation can be inexpensive and effective and fun though, without strict processes. Preferably innovation should be an out –of –box process. Luckily SMEs in Europe are using increasingly students or fresh graduates to tackle challenging problems inside the companies or customer related challenges.
I remember my first job as an R&D manager. While we were solving technical problems, quite often I heard someone experienced professional from my team to say: “ We have tried this before”!
This is a brainstorm killer!
An SME using more college students or graduates will increase its chances to have truly novel ideas that are even cost efficient to implement.
Even to a so-called we-have-tried-this-before-problems, a young person has a different angle and things can still work out.
All in the company benefit from these fresh ideas and the young person gets invaluable experience.
The company must allow these fresh employees to be really “nosy” though.
My first boss in R&D told me: “Do it first – apologize afterwards” (if there is a need).
Perhaps the student is your future high performing employee or manager.