Rite-Solutions: Mavericks Unleashing the Quiet Genius of Employees
2006 | Case No. HR27
Rite-Solutions, a software company headquartered in Rhode Island, was founded by two successful executives that had seen innovation stifled in traditional companies. They observed that people with ideas generally had to present them to management for approval, a process that was intimidating and tended to favor ideas that were well presented, rather than those that were good. In addition, software people were often uncomfortable speaking in public, preferring communication by computer. The Rite-Solutions culture was based on trust and collaboration, with a desire to tap into the creativity of the entire organization. The founders tried a number of methods to involve employees in innovation, which became more difficult as the company grew and added remote offices. They eventually invented a stock market, called “Mutual Fun,” where any employee could develop an idea and get other employees to provide their opinions, comments, or time to move the idea forward in their spare time. Communities of common interest formed around these ideas (stocks). When a stock made sufficient progress, and attracted sufficient support, top management could put corporate resources behind it, resulting in a new product, process improvement, or new technology. There were three types of stock: cost-savings ideas, product ideas that utilized technology the company already understood, and new technologies that the company should evaluate. The market began in 2004, and was very successful. By mid-2006 Rite-Solutions had begun to license it to other companies. The case discusses the culture of Rite-Solutions, the operation of Mutual Fun, and asks about the application of this tool in other corporate environments.
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