We live in a social world, your employees, prospects, future employees and future customers have never been closer.
The same, with regard to ideas for new business and new features for your products and services. It just needs you to start listening and talking.
First, get your company a presence on social media. This is NOT about pushing corporate messages, which is what your marketing agency and PR company will tell you it is.
This is not about a conversation "buy my shit, buy my shit" that is not a conversation. It's broadcast.
Your social media presence should start conversations. Ask questions. You must empower the people on it to have conversations. Again, this is not about posting. Make sure the people who run the account(s) have the business acumen and commercial background to have conversations. This article is about innovation, so drive the conversations into the areas of innovation you are interested in.
(Your should be able to find your fans (and enemies) by listening on social.)
Highly recommend, that you have a plan over time.
The second thing you should do is empower your employees to talk on social. Employees in Sales, in Marketing, in Human Resources, in Supplies. Empower the employees to talk on social, this again will increase the discussions on social. This will also increase your innovation.
Finally, using social internally will increase your ability to communicate and collaborate across your business. This should have an internal impact on your innovation capability.
Legend has it that when an emperor asked an inventor to name his reward, the inventor asked the emperor for payment in the humble grain of rice, giving the inventor the total gained by doubling a single grain of rice over a 64-square chessboard. In the end, the final squares had exponential mountains of rice. The velocity of technology advancement, especially for the manufacturing industry, is no different—it’s exponential.