Employees whose innovation ideas were rejected once come back with more, according to research at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

Dr Dirk Deichmann researched 1800 suggestions that were submitted through a company’s online suggestion box over a time span of 12 years.  He found that rejecting an idea motivated people to come back with a new idea. However, people whose ideas were accepted at the first try were less likely to come back with a new suggestion.

Even though rejection frequently drew a positive response, employees would stop engaging after an average of 27 rejected ideas.

The study also looked at the quality of the suggestions made by people who were earlier rejected. It found that even though people will come back, their ideas would be rejected over and over again. On the other hand, people with favourable ideas were not likely to come back with more, but if they did, their ideas are more likely to get accepted again.

‘’ If businesses want their employees to submit useful ideas from which the company can benefit, they have to motivate people who once submitted a successful idea, to come back with more. Equally, they should assist those who do come back, but had their earlier ideas rejected, by guiding them on general criteria or connecting them with employees whose ideas were successful.’’ 

says Prof Deichmann.