Your company has tangible equity in the image it puts forth. That image includes visibility within the industry and your target market; the effort made to promote your logo and brand name, introduce new products and services, and showcase core competencies to clients; and your pioneering spirit that drives you to improve offerings and satisfying customer needs. What can a company do implement innovation? Consider five more tips:
- Stress the importance of innovation: Ensure employees know you want to hear their ideas. Unless they understand how innovating your business processes can keep you competitive, efforts at encouraging creative thinking risk falling flat.
- Schedule time for brainstorming and experimentation: Don’t attempt to be innovative on the fly. For example, altering standard procedures on the production line can easily result in unsafe conditions or unpredictable, unacceptable results. A team involved in group brainstorming session is likely to be more effective than the sum of its individual parts.
- Encourage change: Broadening experiences is a great way to spark ideas, and short-term job swaps can introduce a fresh perspective to job roles. Encourage people to look at how other businesses benchmark, even those in other industries, and consider how they can be adapted or improved.
- Be supportive and excuse minor mistakes: Respond enthusiastically to all ideas and never make someone feel foolish for offering an idea. A certain amount of risk taking is inevitable with innovation. Allow people to learn from their mistakes. Never put off the creative flow by penalizing those whose ideas don’t work out.
- Reward creativity: Motivate individuals or teams who come up with winning ideas by actively recognizing innovation, perhaps through a reward campaign. You could even demonstrate your recognition that not all ideas work out by rewarding those who just have a rich flow of suggestions, regardless of whether they’re put into action.
—Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer