Businesses are missing out on an average of 18,000 opportunities a year to boost their bottom line because they are failing to listen to their workers’ ideas, according to new research by idea management firm Wazoku.

The research, which surveyed cross-sector organisations with an average of 5,200 employees, as part of the EveryDay Innovation Report, reveals that the average UK worker typically suggests six innovative ideas to improve the business each year. Less than half of these ideas (43%) are acknowledged by their employers, meaning that thousands of ideas and opportunities to improve are being missed by UK organisations.

On the upside, of the ideas that are acknowledged by a business, more than one in three (39%) are implemented and positively impact the way the organisation works. This proves the urgent need for a culture of innovation to be baked into the everyday working practices of an entire organisation, otherwise known as EveryDay Innovation.

Why are so many ideas lost?

The research exposes a clear lack of processes within businesses to harness employee ideas effectively. More than half (52%) of employees believe that although their organisation is full of people with great ideas, there is no established process for ideas to be shared and filtered. 59% of respondents reported that suggestions they make about improving business processes often go totally unnoticed.

Many UK businesses are also failing to establish cultures that foster and promote innovation across the workforce. 65% of employees believe not enough is done to encourage them to contribute in the innovation process. In terms of the key challenges for workers in sharing ideas, a lack of innovation culture comes out on top with 37% saying that shared ideas are lost or unacknowledged; 27% saying there's a lack of interest in employee ideas: and 27% saying there's a lack of incentives to share ideas in the first place.

Stuart Eames, operational improvement manager at Waitrose said: “I would urge all businesses to take innovation into the centre of everything they do, so it’s accessible for all, in order to capitalise on the wealth of ideas at their fingertips.

“In just 18 months, Wazoku’s idea management platform has enabled us to generate significant cost-savings through the initial wave of ideas implemented. We’ve received an average of over 22 innovative new ideas a week since launch, demonstrating just how engrained innovation now is into everyday working life across the organisation.”