Ideas Are Free - A Book Summary

Without great ideas, no organization can stay afloat, much less flourish. Managers and top executives are constantly struggling to come up with big ones - creative marketing strategies, ingenious cost-cutting schemes and other corporate solutions that will save time and money and improve productivity. But what few of them realize is that right under their noses is a virtually limitless source of valuable ideas - ideas that can revolutionize their company and help bring substantial and sustainable competitive advantage. These great ideas come, surprisingly, from the lowest point of the corporate food chain - from the frontline employees who do the "dirty" work and who therefore see a lot of problems and opportunities that their managers do not.

Employee ideas are a lot more valuable than most managers think. More importantly, they can be had virtually for free, if you know how. This book teaches the most effective methods for tapping this "hidden" resource, based on extensive research in more than 300 organizations around the world. It offers precise techniques for setting up an idea management system that can empower your people, transform your organization and make you a much more effective leader.

The Idea Revolution

In traditional companies there are two distinct types of workers:

1. The thinkers - the supervisors, managers and other executives; and

2. The doers - the frontline employees.

The rationale behind this division is that regular workers are not capable of the kind of critical thinking needed for problem solving and strategy formulation, and therefore they should not participate in brainstorming.

The Idea Revolution invites you to break free from this old, limiting thinking pattern and to change the rules, because the truth is that although your frontline workers may indeed not have the knack for strategic planning, they do possess other, equally valuable type of knowledge - detailed, practical information about the company's daily operations, and common sense. Because they are actually where the action is, so to speak, they see a lot of things that you do not - what the customers really need, what machines are not working, what is being wasted. And often they know what to do to make things better.

The only thing you need to do is to ask and to welcome, not discourage, their ideas.

Why Employee Ideas are Important

In most organizations only the first type of knowledge is encouraged. The other kind is not only discouraged, but actually suppressed. But actually both are needed to run an efficient company. Managers and employees need to cooperate, to contribute what they know in order to come up with workable solutions and significant improvements.

Managers and supervisors can tend to generalize issues and gloss over certain details, while employees who work directly with what is causing the problem know exactly what is wrong and what should be done about it. Their knowledge of the problem is direct and intimate, and they can provide accurate solutions. They know things by experience, not by theory.

The Power of Small Ideas

Big ideas are always more attractive - they are splashier, grander, always more promising. Managers are therefore more likely to weed out "small" ideas and go for the really big ones, the "home runs" - those that could help generate millions of dollars in revenue or topple the competition, instantly. But when it comes to ideas, small does not always mean ineffective or weak. In fact, in organizations it is often smarter to focus on small ideas rather than on big ones.

Idea Management

As simple as it sounds, getting and using employee ideas to improve your organization's performance entails a lot of planning, preparation and hard work. Two crucial issues that you would have to deal with are:

? How can the employees be encouraged or motivated to come up with so many ideas?

? Who has time to deal with all of them?

After all, once the ideas start pouring in, they would each have to be evaluated, and then implemented. These are non-value adding tasks that can take up all of your valuable time. The only way you can effectively manage employee ideas is by setting up a good idea system, one that will make the process, which can become messy, organized and productive.

Profound Change

By encouraging the free flow of ideas, you will have the opportunity to bring about a profound transformation within your organization, one that could not only boost its overall performance, but would also liberate the people who work within it.

Idea systems have the power to change the very culture of an organization, by bringing about more trust, respect, openness, commitment and harmony among its people.

When employees see that their ideas are valued, their attitudes change, from one of detachment and frustration to involvement and fulfillment. This not only uplifts the quality of their lives, but also brings about real growth in the organization.

By: Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla

Regine Azurin is the President of, a company that provides business book summaries of the latest bestsellers for busy executives and entrepreneurs."> "A Lot Of Great Books....Too Little Time To Read" Free Book Summaries Of Latest Bestsellers for Busy Executives and Entrepreneurs


BusinessSummaries is a service.

(c) Copyright 2001- 2005, - Wisdom In A Nutshell

John Oliver's parody book about Vice President Mike Pence's family pet has sold out. The "Last Week Tonight" host appeared on "Ellen" on Tuesday to talk about his new children's book, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo." The book, which Oliver is using to troll Pence, coincides with the Pence family's release of their own children's book about the family pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo.

The American Library Association is facing significant financial challenges. The Trump administration wants to gut federal support for libraries. And librarians are fighting over whether its next executive director should be required to have a MLS degree...

The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its 2017 awards tonight:

Poetry: Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf)

Criticism: Carina Chocano, You Play The Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages (Mariner)

Autobiography: Xiaolu Guo, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove)

Biography: Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Metropolitan Books)

Nonfiction: Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Simon & Schuster)

Fiction: Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)

The John Leonard Prize: Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf)

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Charles Finch

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: John McPhee

About three-quarters (74%) of Americans have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2012, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January. Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 67% of Americans having read a print book in the past year.

And while shares of print and e-book readers are similar to those from a survey conducted in 2016, there has been a modest but statistically significant increase in the share of Americans who read audiobooks, from 14% to 18%.

Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011, when the Center first began conducting the surveys of Americans' book reading habits.

Netflix will begin streaming the movie adaptation of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society in North America, Latin America, Italy, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia on April 20. Studiocanal will release the film in the U.K. on the same day, followed by Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany.

Accused by at least 10 women of sexual harassment, author Sherman Alexie has decided not to accept the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction that he won for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir (Little, Brown). His publisher has also delayed the release of the paperback edition.

The Guardian reports on the quandary facing romance authors--in the wake of #MeToo and Time's Up, how 'bad' should the bad boy be?

Introducing what will be an ongoing project, The New York Times writes, "Since 1851, obituaries in the New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now we're adding the stories of 15 remarkable women."

The obituaries published today include Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Bronte and Qui Jin (a feminist poet and revolutionary who became a martyr known as China's 'Joan of Arc.')

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington will star in and executive produce the TV series Little Fires Everywhere, based on Celeste Ng's book.

Three women have gone on the record with NPR's All Things Considered--and at least seven others have spoken off the record with the show--about author Sherman Alexie's abusive treatment of them, confirming the anonymous and somewhat vague allegations that have been made recently online. ©