The interviewer would like to see that you proactively go after what you want and that you will act as a positive change-agent when you see room for improvement in the workplace. The worst way to answer this question would be to say 'I didn't have the power to change anything in the organization, so I quit.'
This question is not an opportunity to complain about your previous job or company! Think about personal changes you could make that would have made your job easier, improved your skills or furthered your education. You cannot change others, but there is always the option to develop yourself!
"My previous company did not allow for a lot of employee feedback or input so I chose to focus on ways that I could better my performance instead. I took many weekend workshops on various topics such as Excel, Communication in the Workplace, The Art of Negotiations, and some human resource related courses as well. My boss did notice an improvement in my performance, so I formally suggested that the company pay for every employee to take one course per year. They agreed and implemented my suggestion. I believe it's easier to 'do' rather than 'tell.' My example of performance improvement was what they needed to make some changes."
"In my previous role, I had regular one on one meetings with my supervisor. In those meetings, I would offer suggestions. I was always prepared to go into detail on my ideas, and the analytics to back them up, should my ideas pique any interest. Never ask for a change without being able to justify it."
"I would keep a running list of areas for improvement, and as the opportunity arose to bring them up in a tactful manner, I would voice the appropriate, related concern. If anything were pressing, I'd make sure to raise my concern immediately."
"Marketers are known creative types, so we always love to explore alternate scenarios and ways to improve a process. I keep up to take on technology trends and would often suggest we open a free trial of the latest and greatest. Sometimes we would permanently implement the recommendation, other times we would toss it."
"I currently work in a franchise environment so there can be a lot of red-tape surrounding change. I have made suggestions for small changes such as adding a flashing "open" sign to the front door, handing out napkins rather than leaving dispensers out to prevent waste and that type of thing."
"When starting my most recent position, I would have the occasional 8 AM check-in with the COO, who was my direct boss. I was able to give him direct feedback on what I saw, as a newcomer. Many times, he took my suggestions on how to change things, but there were plenty of times when we just had to leave the situation alone. I trusted that he had a plan, or that my feedback was at least heard and perhaps change would be made at a later juncture."
"If asked, I can readily suggest change; however, I avoid unsolicited recommendations."