In the fast paced, technologically driven, digital era that we find ourselves in, there are certain vital aspects in business that unfortunately cannot be compromised on at any cost. An example? Innovation.
“Innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.”
Innovation is the key to staying relevant and creating and keeping a competitive edge over other companies, especially when you find yourself in a cut-throat industry, overrun with several competitors fighting just as hard to make it to the top.
Some benefits of innovation-led workplaces include:
The question is, how do we successfully encourage creativity and innovation within the workplace?
Leaders lead by example
Being a leader consists of more than just managing a team or ensuring that a project gets completed. A true leader leads by example, showing employees the type of work culture which you hope to cultivate. If you want your employees to think innovatively – nurture it. Embrace new ideas, give chances, take calculated risks, encourage curiosity and new concepts and make your employees feel that effort and initiative is valued. Creating a culture where the sky is the limit allows for the best ideas to be nurtured and turned into a major success.
Planning and brainstorming sessions
Sometimes all innovation need is one last piece to the puzzle in order to make a great idea come to life. We might have a vague idea, but not all the necessary pieces in place in order to make it a true innovative concept. This is where your team comes into effect. No one said you have to do it alone! Providing your employees with a creative space in a relaxed atmosphere and dedicating time during workhours towards getting together, relaxing and throwing creative ideas around is a great way to nurture and inspire innovation.
Rewarding the innovators
Nothing boost morale, a positive approach and competitive mentality than being rewarded for your hard work. Rewarding creativity and innovative behavior not only makes your employees know that hard work pays off, it also boosts performance and plays a big part in employee retention. Rewards can be in any form ranging from gift cards, recognition, time off, personalized gifts, cash bonuses, promotions, paid experiences and more.
A great way of encouraging innovation and creativity is by making it fun and competitive alike. Host competitions company-wide and make it available for all employees to enter. Give your contest a simple brief, making it clear what you expect from the end result and the rest is up to them. Once you’ve received all your submissions, pick the most innovative ideas and concepts and reward them whichever way you see fit. This shows your employees that you take innovation seriously and that creative input is valued.
Embrace the option of failure
Not all ideas pan out, irrespective of how good and fool-proof it looks on paper. Sometimes you get yourself into a situation where you’ve put hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears into a project, only for it to result in a massive failure at the end of the day. However, it’s okay. It happens. Innovation and creativity carry risks and failure is one of them. However, instead of being demotivated, rather take a look at the project with renewed energy and come up with reasons as to why it didn’t pan out as expected and what can be done in the future to avoid the same thing from happening. Every failure is a learning experience – the chance to better yourself and to perfect an idea.