6 core ways to inspire innovation at work
Companies are not static entities that watch the years go by. They are organic groups of people that form the foundation of each company. Thus, they should evolve in order to survive. This is a direct consequence of the rapid technological and economic progress that the business world has been experiencing in the last decade. Progress equals innovation. To be honest, creativity is hard to come by but with the proper organization and preparation and leadership skills, anything can be achieved. Especially, in our times, new generations with new ideas keep on springing. So, the most important thing is to have a strategy that aims at achieving innovation at work and helps your team think of the future.
Think about putting to work a strategy to pursue innovation but first, you need to organize it as best as possible. Make your professional life’s mission to concretize your goals. You should also know your skills and stay at the forefront to continue upgrading them. At the same time, it’s mandatory that you know the waters you’re swimming into. So, you should study the market you’re part of and focus on the right target audience in order to explore all the possible ways that you can be of value in the business world.
Here’s a list of ways to improve the chances of your team to achieve innovation in the midst of a highly demanding era, during which a lot has been said and done.
Trial. Error. Repeat.
The first barrier that your company should embrace is experimentation. Income stability is a dream for every professional. However, companies cannot shy away from taking chances. They should try new methods and leave space to always search for that elusive ingredient that brings success.
So, all sorts of companies from small to big, from agencies to technical businesses, should familiarize themselves with the process of trial and error since it’s the only way to bring innovation at work. Hits and misses cost money, brainpower, and enthusiasm. But, the valuable lessons they offer about failure, ample future potential, carelessness provide hands-on experience beyond any course and university degree can.
A failed experiment has the necessary equipment to keep on ascending the ladder of success. Experimentations are bound to succeed if every failure makes their basis even stronger and every correction solves key glitches of the followed approach.
Every hour is innovation hour.
Innovation is not a fictional character that belongs in fairytales. It’s just a more difficult end. It requires more work, the right mentality, and skills. So, don’t treat as something extra in your daily work schedule and isolate it behind-closed-door meetings and into specialized seminars. A crazy good idea can appear in the mind of an employee at any given moment. Therefore, companies should organize innovation brainstorming sessions throughout the week to help your team redirect their efforts on new emerging business ideas that can improve products or services.
Of course, innovation is not always achieved in the conference room. There are different games, activities and art forms that can awaken their imagination and increase productivity. Take for example the Joytunes’ headquarters in Tel Aviv which have an especially dedicated wooden stage with different musical instruments or Salesforce’s offices in San Francisco which host meditation rooms. These two examples show that people get inspired differently and thus, if possible, a workspace should accommodate diverse thought processes.
Motivate your innovation experts
Your team members are the most important people in your professional life. Amongst them, according to Pinchot, you will find “the dreamers who do, who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business.”
They are otherwise called intrapreneurs and they could be simply described as entrepreneurs who work for an enterprise. This way, they do not have the ownership of the company, but they have all the capability to administer, take risks, offer new perspectives and ultimately innovate. So, it’s always vital to identify these employees that tend to generate fresh ideas and give them specific responsibilities or help them in turn to motivate the rest of the team. Intrapreneurs can also prove valuable whenever they use their advising skills to solve team problems and lead the team to complete creative concepts.
Put your team behind your cause
Humanity is driven by emotion and purpose and so does your team(s). Thus, never forget to brief them about changes in your vision and updates on your plans. You better also support your vision and plans with reasons besides money-making. Innovators like Apple’s late Steve Jobs and Tesla’s Elon Musk have always built not just a concept but a world around their inventions to use empathy and get the people to believe in their cause in order to buy their products and services.
Regardless of the scale of your company, you can still build it firmly on visionary ground. Make your staff proud to be working and innovating under your company’s wings and then tend to your customers’ needs and desires. Share with them real struggles, experiences that taught you important lessons as well as times that you broke through barriers with hard work and fresh ideas. All the above can prove beneficial because they will point out your humble beginnings, their strong imprint in your memory and how deeply rooted they are in your company’s philosophy. Your company’s legacy can influence its future and bring about the success you’ve been working so hard to get.
Do not hierarchize who innovates at work
Different teams have different ideas and ways to fulfill the company’s vision. Innovation is not a scheduled duty for specific employees. Innovation is not task-oriented and definitely not inspired by rigid team management rules. Therefore, a strict hierarchy has no place in modern business workplaces since it does not offer anything constructive to the innovation race.
Employees with big shoes to fill as well as workers with fewer responsibilities should cooperate. They should also involve each other in their respective departments in order to have a more holistic approach towards all working levels. This way, more minds will focus on innovation. There will be no discrimination according to their position in the company. If the company’s minds were to collaborate in brainstorming sessions or interdisciplinary projects, then the potential for new ideas emerges. This can all be achieved through mutual work on new advancements for the product or services.
Teach and train your employees
Of course, the balance between technical and theoretical skills in your company can make a difference. So, the techniques that companies follow, should creatively include both. In this fashion, your employees can participate and learn more about how to think out of the box and innovate. It’s also great for them to receive the much-wanted support to reach their goals.
Your company is not a school per se. However, it can help employees improve or develop skills, change their working habits and reconsider their professional philosophy in order to align with their team. At the same time, in the age of technology, companies should teach their employees working and thinking techniques in order to achieve innovation at work.
The bottom line is that your company needs to eat, sleep and breathe innovation. Remember that the only way to find greatness is to incorporate the thought of innovation at work all day, not just when you sit at your desk. Brainstorming sessions, thinking techniques, team gatherings and the general atmosphere of enthusiasm can definitely help your team achieve innovation.