"How do you build a culture where employees are not afraid to throw out ideas that may sound wacky but could end up being brilliant? In some startups this is natural, but in large, hierarchical orgs, I can imagine that lower-level people are leery of putting off-beat thoughts out there. Do you have advice for encouraging wide, top to bottom participation?"
Every employee must know that since they work in a company, they have to be innovative, and thus they must have the ability to hear what the others have to say. Also, every company has very little budget given to R&D, because most of the R&D projects are given after being eliminated in a 3 step process: general voting, practical applications, and funding/profit.