Great notion: a professor of good ideas
Friday 03 January 1997
Geoff Lloyd, a former gas fitter, puts on his gown as a research fellow at the University of Wales on Monday. "The university wants a European centre of excellence to promote the awareness of employee suggestion schemes," said Mr LLoyd, 50. "The unit here is unique."
For once, Britain is ahead of America and Mr Lloyd has been asked to help the University of Central Michigan to set up a similar unit.
The move is part of a revolution in suggestion schemes, of which the estimated 100,000-plus annually in Britain save industry around pounds 500m.
The days of the tin box marked "Suggestion Scheme" hanging in the works canteen and never emptied are passing. Go-ahead companies now tap into employees' cost-cutting brainwaves in a big way.
The new academic's former company, British Gas, has launched a scheme to save up to pounds 300m in its pipeline and storage arm over the next two years, largely from employees' bright ideas.
"There are still firms with the tin box kind of suggestion schemes," said Mr Lloyd, a former chairman of the United Kingdom Association of Suggestion Schemes. "I want to raise the profile of suggestion schemes and show how they can become an important part of problem-solving and a mechanism for change."
As part of Mr Lloyds's PhD in suggestion schemes, he has sent out Britain's first national suggestion scheme survey, to 25,000 people in 200 companies, asking why suggestions were submitted, or why they were not.
Mr Lloyd, who has written a book on the subject, said his unit would be asking what drove people to make suggestions. "Is it money, recognition by their peers or by their managers, or is it love of the company?"
He will give lectures on the subject to students on MSc and Master of Business Administration courses.
Mr Lloyd, who left British Gas after six years running suggestion schemes, has himself only ever made one suggestion - and he was fobbed off. "The experience turned me into a passionate advocate of how to treat people who submit suggestions," he said.
And the first good idea after hanging up his mortar board behind the door? "I'll put the kettle on," he smiled.
Six best suggestions
A Royal Navy commander picked up pounds 25,000 for a fuel-saving idea - called the Harrier ski-jump - for Sea Harriers. Taking off vertically used vast quantities of fuel. The commander suggested the aircraft take off from an angled platform, which is much more fuel-efficient.
An East London gas stores man suggested bar-coding supplies to identify slow-moving items. The pay-off was pounds 4.4m in the first year.
Swan Vesta save thousands of pounds by applying a factory worker's brainwave to put sandpaper on only one side of each matchbox.
A labourer gave his name to the Hitchman's swivel in 1993, an attachment that helps lay underground pipes. He won pounds 11,000.
When an experiment involving glue went wrong, someone saw the potential of the non-drying, failed adhesive - and the Post-It note was born.
A British Rail worker, tired of having to replace copper wire on overhead cable, suggested fitting a rayon sleeve over the wire. It is believed to have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds.
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Putin critic may have been murdered by Islamic extremists, says president-led committee
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...