It’s crazy to think that all great ideas need to come from you or from your top managers. Chances are, your employees who are your “feet on the street” know more about your customers than you might. If they know so much, why not tap into that knowledge and ask them for ideas?

Many years ago at my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, I went to our creative director, Alf, with my “bright” idea. I wanted to give a 50 percent discount on all of our services to non-profit organizations, since our competitors were giving a smaller percent off than that. He simply looked at me and said, “Why don’t we just give it for free?” It was a brilliant idea and it’s been one of our most successful programs to date.

One of our customer relations representatives (who, sadly, is not with the company anymore) said that she used to continually re-package our online survey feature for an event marketing tool to our customers, because at the time we didn’t have an event marketing product. So we spun our marketing message around that premise, and got a lot more customers to use our survey tool.

So why not dedicate one lunch a month and challenge your employees to come up with three new ideas that would help customers, increase their spending or keep them coming back–and see what they come up with? You’ll be surprised at the creative thinking that ensues!

Did you follow through on a great idea one of your employees came up with? Please share!