How to Help Your Team Bring You Better Ideas

Karin Hurt and David Dye release their inspiring new book titled, “Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Microinnovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates”

When this announcement came to us here at KB-Resource, we thought: who among our designer and showroom community doesn’t need courage? We read: “As the COVID-19 pandemic transforms the world, new challenges emerge at an unprecedented rate. The research from Hurt and Dye shows that employees have game-changing ideas for how to solve these issues but frequently don’t speak up to share them. As a result, organizations waste money and miss opportunities to create better experiences for their customers.”

So we asked them: “Do you have some examples from the book we can cite to our community?” They kindly offered the following! We hope you enjoy it and find inspiration in it to tackle this crazy world we live in! Let us here from you!


The I.D.E.A. Model

By Karin Hurt and David Dye

Are you getting all the ideas you need to improve your business? Do your employees have the confidence to share their ideas and best practices and advocate on behalf of your customer?

In our recent courageous cultures research conducted in conjunction with the University of North Colorado, we found that many employees were reluctant to share their ideas for a variety of reasons:

  • 67% said they are not regularly asked for their ideas
  • 50% shared that “nothing ever happens” so why bother to share
  • 40% confided that they “lack the confidence to share” their ideas
  • 45% said they hadn’t been trained in critical thinking and problem solving
  • And 56% said they don’t share for fear that they won’t get credit.

And the tragic part is, these ideas employees are holding back are not trivial. The top three categories of unshared ideas were: improve efficiency in a process; improve the customer experience; and improve the employee experience.

So how do you get employees to not just share ideas, but great ideas you can use?

It starts with clarity.  First that you really want their ideas, and second clarity about what a great idea would accomplish.

Ask For What You Need

One of the biggest reasons employees don’t think critically is they lack the strategic context to guide their innovation.

Don’t just say, “I have an open door.” Or “I’m wide open to any of your ideas.” It’s more helpful to ask deliberately and specifically.

For example, “I’m looking for your best ideas on how we can stay productive while working from home, without burning everyone out.”

Or, I’m looking for specific ideas to make our remote meetings more engaging.

Next give your team a framework to vet their ideas so they bring you their best. And of course, be sure to respond with regard— thank them for their idea and let them know what will happen next (even if you can’t use the idea).

This simple tool works wonders.

4 Questions to Help Your Team Vet Their Ideas

If you want better ideas, help your employees know what differentiates a good idea by giving them a few criteria. Tell your team you’re looking for interesting, doable, engaging actions.


Why is this idea interesting? What strategic problem does it solve? How will results improve from this idea (e.g. customer experience, employee retention, efficiency)?

D- Doable

Is this idea something we could actually do? How would we make it happen? What would make it easier or more difficult?

E- Engaging

Who would we need to engage to make this happen? Why should they support it? Where are we most likely to meet resistance?


What are the most important actions needed to try this? How would we start?

Karin Hurt and David Dye are the Founders of Let’s Grow Leaders, a leadership training and consulting firm in Maryland, and the authors of 5 books including  Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul as well as the soon to be released Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Microinnovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates. Recently named on Inc’s list of Most Innovative Leadership Speakers, Karin and David work with leaders around the world who want to achieve breakthrough results and build highly innovative, courageous cultures.  They are also dedicated to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells, building clean water wells in Cambodia.

Editor's Note:

The book will be available for purchase on, iBooks, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and all major outlets, and is available in audible read by the authors. “Courageous Cultures” includes fifteen chapters with titles like “How Courage Works—According to Research” and “People Are Different: How to Leverage Your Diverse Talent to Build a Courageous Culture.” For more information on “Courageous Cultures,” (including a free sample chapter, pre-order bonuses,  details on the authors, the book trailer, advanced praise, press coverage, and purchasing information), visit

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