Put Big Employee Ideas into Action: Your Weekly Innovation
March 19, 2015

Put Big Employee Ideas into Action: Your Weekly Innovation

by Brian de Haaff

In today’s fast-paced world, every business can benefit from a better way to manage change. Being able to quickly adapt is a competitive advantage, allowing companies to adjust to meet market needs. The key is to ensure a smooth transition from the old to the new while maintaining morale, productivity, and company image.

As CEO of 9Lenses, Edwin Miller wants to bring these same benefits to his clients. 9Lenses helps companies move from human insights to value-creating actions. They do this by providing a cloud-based organizational intelligence platform. This platform is particularly helpful when companies are trying to change existing processes or speed up innovation that has slowed. These situations often involve many stakeholders; 9Lenses allows everyone to contribute their insights at once while still providing clarity for leaders.

When companies have business woes, they often hire consultants to help solve their challenges. But this process is painful — it often involves scattered, broken engagement that yields limited insight, if you consider time-to-insight as part of the equation.

At 9Lenses — which was founded in 2011 — the team helps clients drive change by tapping the insights of entire organizations. By applying business logic to otherwise unstructured human insights, the software provides its clients with a common language that can be easily understood and measured across an organization.

“I can attest to the pain of change management as a former management consultant to Fortune 500 companies,” says Patrick Merfert, Marketing Director at 9Lenses. “Developing client interview guides can be a bit of a guessing game, it’s not scalable, and it takes a lot of work to translate that data into quantified, presentation-ready insights.”

9Lenses believes that sustainable growth comes through hearing buy-in from all teams — not just a few stakeholders. And they practice this themselves to spur their own product development.

“Our product plays a central role in an organization that is going through change; [it] taps marketing, sales, engineering, web development, design, and innovation thought leaders,” says Isaiah McPeak, VP of Product at 9Lenses. “We focus on helping established companies change over time, but we ourselves wanted a solution to build what customers want in a transparent and lean fashion. This meant that we needed a tool to improve our own product management and software development practices.”

To ensure that customers have a voice in what 9Lenses builds, McPeak manages a crowd-sourced ideas portal using Aha! that brings customer ideas to their product managers in real-time. It’s how 9Lenses practices what they preach — understanding clients’ pain points to learn how they can improve their own software. The key is that they are doing this upfront before change management is ever needed.

9Lenses practices a powerful principle to get its innovation right — listen to your own experts first, and use the right tools to connect internal ideas to your product managers and product roadmap.

How does your company gather insights?

In this series, companies share their unique approach to innovating with Aha! Read more of their stories here, and write your own using the hashtag #BigIdeas.

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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