Innovation is the key to honing your organization’s competitive edge and boosting your performance. Here are five tips for cultivating a culture of innovation in your business.
Apply a continuous improvement mindset to every aspect of your business, whether it be production, service delivery, marketing strategy or your underlying business model. Make sure your employees and co-workers in every department feel directly involved in innovation, change and creativity: give them articles to read and training opportunities to explore. Have them attend talks on the subject. And don’t punish the dreamers in your midst. Give them the room they need to be creative by assigning them tasks where they have the freedom to blaze new trails.
Encourage engagement across the board. Innovation and development should be open to all, not just an elite group of executives at the top. The more people you have coming up with new ideas, the faster your business will move forward and grow. Create an intranet forum or another channel where staff members can meet up and brainstorm. But be open to one-on-one meetings for employees who are less likely to express themselves in larger groups.
Be the first to voice how excited you are about innovation and change. As a business owner or manager, you have to create a fertile breeding ground for new ideas. Tap into your employees’ creativity. They are the ones on the front lines, the ones who know the ins and outs of your business. Make sure your organization is technologically up to date and give your teams access to the latest digital tools. When people have clear objectives and a streamlined structure to work with, they are better equipped to find solutions for improving processes and delivering long-term results.
Your co-workers and employees need to feel like you have faith in their ability to think critically and be innovative. Try not to micromanage. Give people what they need to be self-sufficient and confident in their ability to cope with change. It’s also important to have a structure in place to compile feedback from your clients and suppliers, and leverage these comments to solve problems and improve processes. Make innovation part of your daily routine by adopting new management practices that are in line with your organization’s commitment to innovation.
Keep testing new ideas, even when they don’t deliver the goods. Acknowledge employees’ efforts to suggest new practices so they feel like trying again… and again! Be patient. Failures and setbacks are the price you pay for innovation and change. Innovation is much more than a source of added value: it’s a way of thinking, creating and performing. Innovation needs to be at the core of your business strategies and your daily practices. And it needs to be embraced by every single person in your organization.
Interested in becoming an innovation leader? Have a closer look at our courses on management, change and innovation.