The Suggestion Box

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Have you ever seen a suggestion box in a retail store? It might have little note cards and a tiny yellow pencil with no eraser near by, and it will claim to use your suggestions to improve service, product selection or what have you. Some of what’s suggested will never see the light of day, but the purpose behind the suggestion box is a sound one: to solicit feedback with the intention to improve some aspect of performance. By the same token, you, the budding IT professional whiz kid, should consider how you are contributing to the innovation pool of ideas that make or equally valuable, save, the company money.

For instance, I read something recently about “the unconference.” Unconferences capitalize on the hallway syndrome that happens at traditional conferences where the main events are boring and the real networking and idea sharing happens around the drinks cart and buffet table. In the unconference, there is a general theme but no set agenda. There are no attendees or presenters. Instead, everyone is a participant. A kind of moderator or helper passes around a roving mic, a discussion leader acts as cop to cut off repetitious, boring or self-promotional speakers. The unconference takes far less time to organize and opportunities readily surface in an environment designed to encourage the flow of useful ideas via instant messaging and emails.

Who’s to say if this will affect your organization’s bottom line? But ideas like this one may affect equally relevant topics such as employee engagement and morale, which you might mention in a clever, informational little e-mail. When you present these kinds of forward-thinking ideas to your boss, it shows several things. One, you’re aware of the changes in the industry. Two, you care. These are two characteristics no one ever said didn’t help your career.

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