The interviewer would like to see that you proactively go after what you want, and that you will act as a confident 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 improve 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 personal 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 1 course per year. They agreed and implemented my suggestion. I believe it's easier to 'do' rather than 'tell'. My personal example of performance improvement was what they needed to make some changes."
"That is a great question! I would have participated more in external company events. Life gets busy but this is a great opportunity to network with your peers outside of the daily grind of business."
"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 about them though. Never ask for a change without being able to justify it."
Sales answer example
"When starting my most recent position, I would have the occasional check-in with the COO, who was my direct boss each morning at 8:00. Because of this rapport, I was able to give him direct feedback on what I saw, as a newcomer, as working or not working in the current set up. Many times, he took my suggestions on how to change things, but there were plenty of times when we just had to leave the status quo alone. Despite my feelings of frustration, I had to trust that he had a plan, or that my feedback was at least heard and perhaps change would be made at a later juncture."
Teacher answer example
"I like the more casual, collaborative approach, so whether I'm at a Spanish meeting or just in the halls at school, I like to bring up my ideas for changes or improvements in a casual, but appropriate way. Talk about what I'm seeing as the area for improvement- pointedly not calling it a problem- and what changes I'd like to implement. As I'm offering myself up as a guinea pig before others try it, it often goes over quite well. Then, if the experiment in change goes well, we talk about further adoption. If not, a better way to approach the problem or if it should be left alone for now."
Marketing answer example
"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 more pressing, I'd make sure to raise my concern immediately."