"Ideas shape the future" is the motto of a program by the German Institute for Business Administration (dib) to promote a greater emphasis on ideas management in Germany. Dr. Werner Widuckel, Member of the Board of AUDI AG for Human Resources, assumed patronage of this initiative at the Institute's annual conference yesterday.

Widuckel emphasized the importance of ideas management for companies. "The suggestions award program fosters the dedication, motivation and skills of our employees. Attractive working conditions enable successful performance – and these include giving our workers the freedom to think and fostering their creativity." The suggestions award program at Audi is a contributing factor to employer attractiveness and has positive economic effects. The company and those making suggestions benefit equally – a win-win situation.

Benefiting from good ideas requires a certain management culture. "A good idea is always a change driver and thus a bit subversive. An organization has to permit this if it wants to benefit from good ideas," explained Widuckel. The recognition and esteem of the supervisor and colleagues is frequently a stronger driver for suggestions than financial rewards.

Human Resources has overall responsibility for the suggestions award program at Audi, with support for implementation and goal attainment provided by each corporate division. The figures speak for themselves: In 2007, Audi implemented nearly 19,000 suggestions for a savings of €61.6 million. Nearly €6.4 million was paid out in awards to the 20,014 people submitting suggestions.

"Ideas management is firmly entrenched in the minds of our employees and managers. The rapid and easy implementation of the suggestions, the high rate of employee participation and the economic success confirm this," says Ralph Börner, Head of the Audi Ideas Agency. This is not the least of the reasons why the Ingolstadt carmaker was awarded the "Thinker's Prize" by dib for the fifth year in a row for having the best ideas management in the automotive industry.

Today's ideas are the products and processes of tomorrow. The "Ideas shape the future" initiative strives to foster greater interest in employee suggestions so that German companies can strengthen their global competitive position. The initiative is focused primarily on the promotion and rapid implementation of employee suggestions. According to dib, many companies underestimate the financial benefits to be gained.