5 Ways to Foster Innovation
Imported from ACHE Library
Interested in methods to promote innovation?
Innovation is a hot topic for businesses. Everyone wants it, but how do you know if you have it? How do you know if you are encouraging innovation in your organization? Here are some ways companies can foster innovation:
- Encourage Experimentation. Companies that make experimentation a priority will see results from those experiments. It’s important to give people time to be innovative. One example is allotting every employee to use a percentage of their time to be creative and explore new ideas. If your employees spend all of their time in meetings or on phone calls, they don’t have time to actually work on projects and be creative. Encourage experimentation and build time into the day to allow ideas to surface.
- Recognize innovation. Sometimes this is as simple as acknowledging a contribution, while other organizations offer bonuses or prizes for innovative ideas. If your company prizes innovation, then make sure your employees know innovation is valued.
- Reward Failure. One reason employees often don’t express their ideas is that they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to be a failure if something doesn’t work out. Tolerate mistakes and expect failure, and reward lessons learned. Ideas don’t always work the first time. Thomas Edison, one of American’s greatest inventors, once said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that it won’t work.” You’ll never find the ways things do work without finding the ways that won’t work first.
- Create Connections. How many times have you heard someone say that they had a great idea and presented it to someone higher up in an organization and it went nowhere? Companies need outlets for employees to voice their ideas. Some companies have suggestion boxes and others have formal processes to submit ideas, but what’s most important is to create pathways for ideas to become reality within organizations.
- Work in Teams. Create innovation teams to source new ideas. Look for people who are passionate about creating something new and different and allow them to work together to source ideas and processes.
Once you have these new ideas, your organization needs to use them. Put your innovative ideas into practice. If you tell people to be innovative, encourage the process and allow the results to shine. The worst thing you can do is encourage ideas and not implement them.
—Adapted from “5 Ways to Foster Innovation” by Lorie Watson, www.brandon-hall.com