Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Catherine Park. Her opinions are her own.
Innovation is essential for the growth of any company. But that’s a very generic way of describing innovation. To successfully implement innovation, you need to know exactly what makes an innovative organization as well as how it contributes to its growth.
For the majority of us, innovation is about seeking an approach to blue-sky thinking. But that’s a far too clichéd definition to go by. What business people don’t know is that creativity is challenging to achieve. It requires investment of resources to fulfill the needs of innovative management in an organization.
Truly innovative organizations 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 tanks of their employees.
But that requires an innovative culture where everyone is able to think independently.
Business leaders perceive innovation as something that triggers progress and lacking it can stifle the growth of an organization. Unfortunately, the majority of the companies still lack a strategy to create an innovative culture.
For those ambitious business people out there, here are 8 ways to bring innovation into your organization and to pave the way for more creative ideas:
1. Give your workers a sense of freedom
Employers that impose rules tend to suffocate the creativity of their employees. This limits the freedom of your most valuable asset and they will feel reluctant to ever think outside the box.
The essence of an innovative organization lies in their employees’ ability to contribute to the creative process of the organization. As a company, you need to give your workers the autonomy to practise their novel ideas.
It calls for a sense of freedom that can enable your workers to unshackle themselves from the clutches of hierarchical imposition so that they can focus on new ideas to execute their day-to-day tasks.
2. Provide your team with the resources to implement innovative ideas
Make it possible for your workers to convert their ideas into reality. Without the right resources, even the best ideas tend to fall flat.
The most innovative companies in the world invest in their R & D department to allow their creative team to execute the innovative concepts for future product development.
Samsung is one of the leading contenders in the list of the most innovative organizations having invested $12.6 billion in the last twelve months into its R & D department
3. Invest your time in the creative nourishment of your workers
The essence of innovation is achieved when you are able to demonstrate to your workers a path that leads to creativity. Don’t just preach to your team the importance of creativity. Rather demonstrate the specific ways to find creativity so that they can implement innovation in their work.
For example, you can dedicate a day to motivate your workers to experiment with new ideas. Similarly, you can conduct weekly workshops to encourage your employees to brainstorm ideas for an upcoming project.
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 their employees.
4. Don’t focus only on R&D
As an organization, you should not confine innovation to just the R&D department. To implement an effective innovative culture, it is important that each and every department of your company is included.
When you implement a holistic innovation strategy, you are able to foster a change in the mindset of every single member of the team.
5. Allow your employees a chance to fail
Failure is a part the learning process. If you penalize your employees for making mistakes, you inject in them a fear of failure. Such an approach drastically affects their ability to come up with creative ideas.
Fear cannot cultivate creativity.
When you give your employees the scope to make a mistake, you are allowing them to think independently without any constraints of fear. So they are able to think beyond the boundaries of their job.
6. Develop an accommodating leadership style
As the leader of a company, it is your responsibility to foster and nurture the attitudes of your individual team members. Being a leader, you cannot develop a culture of innovation if you fail to show them the way to innovation through your own attitude and behaviour.
Expecting your workers to give you more in less time is one such way you kill the desire of your workers to do something extraordinary. When you prefer short-term results over long-terms benefits of innovative ideas, you will kill their innovative spirit.
Rather than resorting to a ‘do more’ approach, you need to give your employees the room to experiment and learn so that they can improve,
Remember that innovation develops from trial and error and it demands an investment of time. But when you deprive your employees of time, you suffocate the urge of your employees to learn different perspectives to their work.
7. Don’t look down on your subordinates
Intellectual arrogance is the biggest enemy of implementing innovation into any organization. When you disregard the ideas of your employees just because they are your subordinates, you hinder the process of creative thinking in them. Such an organization cannot possibly thrive on the creative ideas of their workers.
To promote a culture of innovation, you and your leadership team need to shut down any preconceived notions about your employees and rather allow them to speak their minds. You need to encourage them to share their opinion and be a part of every creative process in the business.
8. Acknowledge the contribution of your employees
Employees feel valued when you recognize their efforts. Similarly, if you want to promote a culture of innovation in your organization, you need to implement an incentive-based policy that rewards workers on the degree of innovation in their work.
Such a policy will make your employees feel appreciated for their innovative efforts and it will pave the way to a culture of innovation in your organization.
Innovation provides a culture of creative thinking that enables your workers to think beyond the regular hurdles of their work and come up with something new and unique.
However, innovation is not a temporary thing and rather it is a long-term strategy that demands an investment of your time and efforts. Therefore, if you want to ensure that your organization continues to benefit from the positive outcomes of innovation, you need to implement the above-mentioned strategies.