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Supporting Innovation in the Workplace

Supporting Innovation in the Workplace
7 May 2018 John Moore

Innovation in all its forms including social innovation is the key to improved performance and productivity. Here are 10 ways to support and to facilitate innovation in the workplace:

Top Tip #1: Involve People:

If people do not feel connected to your company, then there is little incentive for you to be innovative. As a manager, you need to ensure everyone is aware and understands your company’s plans, strategies and challenges and that you invite them to share their thoughts and ideas on how to improve performance. People who are involved early on in processes and plans are more likely to be motivated to see them through to completion. Their active participation and engagement will fuel more ideas and you will be on your way to creating an innovation culture.

Top Tip #2: Make innovation important:

Ensure everyone understands that you want to hear their ideas. Unless they understand how innovating your business processes can keep your company competitive, your efforts at encouraging creative thinking risk falling flat.

Top Tip #3: Encourage brainstorming:

Make time for coming up with new idea. Why not, set aside time for brainstorming, hold regular group workshops or arrange team days out. A team involved in a brainstorming session is likely to be more effective than the sum of its parts. At least place suggestion boxes around the workplace and ask for people’s ideas on how to solve problems – make sure you and your metaphorical door are open to new ideas.

Top Tip #4: Train people:

Help people to learn how to analyse a problem, to ‘kick around’ new ideas and to ‘think outside of the box’. Take time to help them to learn how to become creative problem-solvers. By sharing tools such as using “cause and effect charts”, mind-mapping and flow-charting.

Top Tip #5: Encourage change:

In the main, people do not like change, but great ideas often come from change. Why not consider using short-term job swaps as often they can help people to see things from a fresh perspective and to spot improvement opportunities.

Top Tip #6: Look at new ways to do things:

Encourage people to keep looking anew at the way they approach their work. Ask people whether they have considered alternative ways of working and what might be achieved by doing things differently.

Top Tip #7: Do not discourage:

Make sure you respond enthusiastically to all ideas and NEVER make someone offering up a new idea feel foolish. Give even the most apparently eccentric, crazy or ridiculous ideas a chance to be discussed.

Top Tip #8: Be tolerant:

Innovation often comes with taking a risk. This means allowing and encouraging people to learn from their mistakes. Help people to reflect on mistakes and to see them as opportunities to learn and improve.

Top Tip #9: Reward ideation and innovation:

If you want people to be creative and problem-solvers, reward them. Rewards do not need to be physical, huge or monetary – recognition is often one of the BIGGEST rewards you can give to someone.

Top Tip #10: Implement strategy to execution:

Remember, innovation is only worthwhile if it results in action. Provide people with the time and resources to develop and implement those ideas worth acting upon. Failure to do so not only means your company will fail to benefit from innovation, but the flow of new ideas may well dry up if people feel the process is pointless.

Having read this blog, share it with people in your company and talk to them about how together you can implement these ideas and become an innovative, creative team of problem-solvers and performance improvers.

 

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John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.