So, I had this great idea that ensures our company ( a large financial services company) does the right thing, promotes its own product and appears in the market to be ahead of its direct competition. After a few months of work and through multiple governance rounds, it's successfully made its way through the ranks. Some events outside of our control have recently happened making my idea even more valuable and timely and forward-looking.

Now, some MDs are likely going to move in to get credit for my idea, that I worked for and I pitched and was adopted months ago.

How do I ensure people know that it was because of my out-of-the-box thinking, instinct and perseverance we are in this fortunate position? Assume that my boss is more than happy to bury or even worse get credit.


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    What does "credit" mean in this instance? Career progression? Bonuses? Pats on the back? Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 8:28
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    Career progression and bonuses. I've had enough patting on the back, it just makes my back numb.
    – J. Doe.
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 8:31
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    @J.Doe. - In my experience with financial service companies, some are happy to reward good ideas during performance reviews and some are not. I'm guessing you have already figured out which category your employer falls under. Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 11:50
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    Can you prove it was your idea?
    – musefan
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


Probably not the answer you want, but: you're not going to get the credit you want for this. It sounds like a whole number of people more senior than you are determined to take the credit for it, and at that point there's little you can do. The only way round this is if you've already laid the groundwork and done a bunch of extensive networking in your organisation so you can "go round" the hierarchy.

Longer term, if this sort of thing is important to you, consider working for a company which doesn't behave like this.

  • My experience has been that credit is so universally fought for that most of the time you have a choice between credit and an idea progressing. If you think an idea is good, credit it to everyone else: they can do the hard work of pushing it forward and will probably want to. If you feel undervalued, choose something that people will see as valuable and will be easy to defend/progress rather than good (though it being good helps). But don't do more than necessary (for you and your life) of the latter.
    – Dan
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 11:43
  • People will know who was responsible for the idea, it might just be the water cooler talk, but the right person might here who was ultimately responsible. It also might never happen, which is the reason the author should speak up for themselves, when their annual or normal performance review comes due. Eventually, they will be rewarded, but as you pointed out probably not up to their expectations
    – Donald
    Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 4:20

You are paid to have ideas and the ideas you have while working on company time are not yours.

Moreover most of the time an idea in itself is quite worthless, what matters is how you convert this idea into a reality and that's what you are remembered and rewarded for.

So I would advice to try to ask for the lead for the realization of your idea (or at least be very implicated), so that even if you do not get rewarded by your current company, that is an experience you can value somewhere else.

Nobody cares that you got "a great idea" during an interview, but if you had a great idea, made it into reality and it had the forecasted impacts on your company, now this is valuable.

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    OP said in the question that they had the idea AND did the work.
    – jcm
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 9:48
  • I understood it as "the work is not done yet but it took him some work to get his idea to be presented in the higher ranks".
    – Maxime
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 11:24
  • You might be right but if promotions and bonuses are involved it's still a good idea for OP to ensure visibility.
    – jcm
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 11:36

You will get all the credit that the inventor of the "egg McMuffin" got. Bupkis

The real value to your idea comes when you go for your next interview and can have a great story to tell. Now, you need to decide whether or not to remain with your present employer. If your boss is willing to stab you in the back to take the credit, he could go to more drastic means such as giving you a bad review, or even putting you on a PIP.

Consider carefully whether you wish to remain with your company, and update your resume/CV, just in case


It's a bit late, but if you want credit for an idea disclose it only IN WRITING and get written acknowledgement, so there's a paper trail.

Many (most?) companies who hire knowledge workers have a formal invention disclosure process that you can and should use.

Note that if you're on salary in the US as a knowledge worker, your contract probably says that all inventions in the company's fields of interest belongs to the company, since part of what they are paying you for is your creativity. And the company gets to say what is or is not covered by that clause. Elsewhere, or hourly/contractor jobs, may or may not be different; know your contract.

As others have said, though, ideas are a dime a dozen. What makes a disclosure valuable is the kind of information that would go into a patent application: a detailed description of at least some new way the idea might be applied and an explanation of what it's value is. "We should make automatic phone polishers" has little value without an explanation of why people need this and some evidence that it can actually be done (preferably at a reasonable profit). The person who takes it to that level may or may not have started from your idea, depending on how obvious the idea was to a trained practitioner (which is also one of the patentability criteria, for what that's worth.) Not that every idea is worth parenting, or should be patented, but this gives you a framework for thinking about how much of the credit is actually yours... and whether in fact someone else might have legitimately invented it independently and beaten you to "market".

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