Vinay Dabholkar in his article on Following the Bright Spots…makes an interesting observation about Ideas that exist within the system but somehow do not get the kind of attention that they deserve.
He sites examples of Steve Jobs telling Intel’s Andrew Grove about importance of microprocessors that was ignored and we know what happened next. His case study on Indian Railways and figuring out the bright spots in its freight business is very interesting.
Bright spots can exist in the system as a small subsystem or as an idea inside an employee’s head or somewhere in between. Vinay gives an approach to spot the bright spots, as applied to Indian Railways case study.
I assume you would need two different approaches for the bright spots in the system i.e the things that are working better than the others and to spot the ideas that may be in the heads of your employees, but both may require you to establish processes that scan the two periodically to tap into the ideas.