Innovation is essential for the growth of any company. To successfully implement innovation, you need to know exactly what makes an innovative organisation as well as how it contributes to business growth. What many business professionals don’t realise or appreciate is that creativity can be challenging to achieve. It requires investment of time and resources to fulfil the needs of innovative management in an organisation.
Truly innovative organisations spend hours developing an approach to imaginative thinking in their workers so that they can cultivate new ideas. In other words, the secret of their unprecedented success is associated with their ability to get the best out of the creative minds of their employees.
That requires an innovative culture where everyone is able to think independently. Business leaders perceive innovation as something that triggers progress. Lacking it can stifle the growth of an organisation.
Here are 9 ways to bring innovation into your organisation and pave the way for more creative ideas:
Make innovation the new normal
Business as usual keeps you in the game, while fostering a culture of creativity can put you ahead of the competition. In big and small ways, let employees know how much you value their ideas and make them feel appreciated for their innovative efforts. This will pave the way to a culture of innovation.
Make innovation one of your company values. Talk it up during staff get-togethers and hold regular workshops and brainstorming sessions for upcoming projects. Google was among the first companies to create a business model based on innovation. The company allocates 20% of its time to nurture the innovative side of employees.
Bring people together
While it’s possible for innovation to occur in a vacuum, more often than not it requires collaboration. Don’t be afraid to promote socialising. One trend in workplace design is to create hubs where workers can hang out and hash out ideas. Think cosy corners or intimate conference rooms equipped with whiteboards, AV equipment, comfortable chairs and plenty of coffee.
Simplify the approval process
Some bureaucracy is necessary, but too much red tape can smother innovation. Reduce the steps it takes to go from idea to implementation. The goal is to allow good ideas to rise quickly and then create clear pathways to implement them.
Cut down the workload
Innovation can’t take root if employees are weighed down by their daily tasks and the need to put in long hours. People are at their most creative when they’re busy but not overwhelmed. Make sure your company or department is adequately staffed so employees have the mental space and energy to be inventive.
For your team to be truly innovative, they need your cooperation, counsel and participation. Make sure you’re accessible and approachable. Take it a step further and offer words of encouragement. Let them know you’re available and happy to have them bounce ideas off of you.
Adopt a non-hierarchical management approach
When it comes to encouraging workplace innovation, a strict hierarchy can be a real killer. If your staff work deferentially and only think about innovation when specifically tasked to do so, you’ll never be able to reach your company’s full potential. The most innovative companies have a flat but strong management approach, allowing employees to break down silos and barriers between work areas. A lot of innovation comes from the sharing of ideas and problems between teams and divisions.
Tesla is a great example. Elon Musk’s radically flat management structure demands a hands-on approach from senior management and asks employees to work across departments in subject-specific ways.
Allow your employees a chance to fail
It’s an unavoidable fact that innovation carries the risk of failure. For every example of world-changing innovation, there’s a heap of failed ideas. Acknowledge the possibility of failure, dedramatize it and encourage risky initiatives to help employees approach innovation in a more open way. When you give your staff the scope to make mistakes you are allowing them to think independently without the constraints of fear so they are able to think beyond the boundaries of their day-to-day tasks. That’s why market leaders like Coke, Netflix and Amazon never shy away from acknowledging their past failures. As Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey puts it, “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”
Reward employees for ongoing learning
There are a lot of ways you can encourage your employees to expand their horizons and broaden their skills. It’s a win-win too: they benefit from new experiences and opportunities for advancement and you benefit from better-rounded and more confident employees. One way is to create prizes for most books read, online courses taken and certifications earned. Feeling more generous? Consider tuition support. Whatever form it takes, don’t forget to remind your employees that learning should be a lifelong process.
Recognise and reward innovation
When you celebrate people who show creativity, other employees take notice and are encouraged to repeat or emulate their behaviour. It’s important to publicly recognise people on your team who demonstrate innovation and help make the company more competitive.
Westin Hotels is a great example. Every quarter, the hotel chain sends its top five innovators on a paid five-day trip. Providing them with public acknowledgement and a significant reward for valuable ideas.
Creativity is like a muscle: if you exercise it regularly, it becomes stronger. So, remove the barriers and start boosting innovation in your workplace.