Sunday, December 6, 2009

Idea management systems in India: Benchmark data from INSSAN

We looked at how idea management evolved at Toyota over 40 years from 1951 to 1989 cumulatively generating 20 million ideas. A natural question that comes to mind is: what is the industry benchmark?

I recently became a member of a 20 year old organization called Indian National Suggestion Scheme Association (INSSAN for short). This is a not-for-profit organization promoting and benchmarking employee suggestion schemes in the Indian industry. INSSAN bulletin for October 2008 – March 2009 (vol 20) gives the two tables shown above and below. This is the cumulative data for 18 organizations which shared their annual data on creative ideas coming from employees with INSSAN.

A few observations

· Scope of innovation: Impact of these suggestions is measured in “cost savings”. This is an important aspect of innovation. However, this means that the ideas entered in these systems are restricted to process improvements and not related to other 3 types of innovations (product, customer experience and business model). Perhaps these organizations use another mechanism for tracking these different types of ideas.

· Capacity of idea generation: On an average, number of ideas per person per year has improved from 3 in 2005 to 6 in 2008. For TVS Motors, this number is at 66 i.e. little over 1 idea per week per employee.

· Award per accepted suggestion at HAL, Bangalore is 80 times the average (HAL: Rs.7608, avg: Rs.93). Saving achieved per accepted suggestion is extremely high at HAL, Bangalore (Rs. 2.6 Crore) compared to average of Rs. 24,176. We don’t know whether this means that the standard of suggestions is very high at HAL or a few killer suggestions came this year.

· Idea acceptance rate: In case of, No of suggestions accepted out of number of suggestions received, a number of organizations (Maruti Suzuki, HAL, Godfrey Philips India, BEL) are at 100%. This is good as far as employee morale concerned. However, when the scope of innovation includes all types of innovations, this should look more like a funnel. For example, ex-CEO of P&G A G Lafley says in Game-Changer that for every 100 ideas that are received, 1 reaches the market. However, for every 2 ideas that reach the market, 1 succeeds. AG feels that the batting average (final success rate) shouldn’t exceed 70%. If it does, it would imply that employees are not taking enough risks. And that’s not good for innovation productivity.


  1. Great insights and examples into idea management systems.

    We're a new start-up that recently created a new idea management platform specifically to address the benefits and trends (some of which you have outlined) of collaborative idea management.

    It's called Hexigo:

  2. Theses are great information and example regarding innovation management systems. It is a good thing that many companies are using innovation management systems in order to deliver a quality and efficient service.