POWERING WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE

1 JUNE, 2022

PROMOTING WORKPLACE INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY

How to encourage innovation in your organisation

A company with a cultural emphasis on innovation is a company set up for success. One look at Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies makes this clear: The top spots are occupied by Salesforce, Amazon, Apple and other highly innovative companies known for fostering the creativity of their employees. Knowing how to foster this sense of innovation is crucial at all levels for organisations to rise up and meet current and future challenges.

What is innovation in the workplace?

Innovation is the process by which new ideas, theories, practices and processes are developed. It involves critically reviewing information to synthesise something new or approach existing policies in new ways. In order to innovate, individuals and organisations need to be able to think beyond how things are usually done to conceptualise and evaluate new and improved approaches. While innovation and creativity are closely linked, there is a distinction – creative ideas don’t necessarily lead to useful solutions, whereas innovative ideas build upon existing knowledge bases to help a company develop and stay ahead of its competitors.

Benefits of innovation in organisations

Whether your organisation is at the start-up or mature stage, there are myriad benefits to fostering innovation in your teams.

Increased competitiveness of products 

As a 2019 study in the journal Plos One indicates, product innovation is correlated with a competitive advantage for that company. Of course, this involves developing a deep understanding of what the customer needs, and should prioritise human-centred design.

Improved employee retention 

Employees who are given the time and space to think of new ideas and solutions to address existing problems – and the freedom to try and fail – are more likely to stay in this nurturing environment.

Ensure your organisation remains ahead of disruption 

Disruption occurs when a new company challenges and transforms the way other companies, or the entire market, deliver a particular product. Promoting innovation will help your organisation identify these potential weaknesses and stay informed of any changes in your customers’ expectations.

Increased brand awareness and recognition 

While it’s important to establish a value proposition that customers can rely on, a reputation of reliable innovation can prove very valuable in the long run. Companies including Apple, Nike and Tesla have built their names by continually updating and refining their product suite.

New business opportunities 

One of the surprising advantages of an innovative workplace is that previously untapped markets and opportunities can become accessible. Encouraging employees to think outside the box is pivotal to achieving this.

Ways to promote innovation in your organisation

Though there’s no overnight solution for implementing an innovative mindset in your organisation, these tips should ensure that you aren’t left behind as the market evolves.

Focus on the customer 

As Michael Boyles of the Harvard Business School writes, “Innovation requires considering user needs”. Companies that value the customer experience at all stages are more able to innovate when a potential weakness or issue is identified.

Give all employees opportunities to innovate 

It’s not enough to just provide C-suite executives and managers with the freedom to think creatively – a true culture of innovation considers all members of an organisation.

Empower employees to independently and autonomously innovate 

Employees need to be given the tools and resources to turn their ideas into reality on their own. Without this support, even the most innovative and creative ideas can fail to succeed. Invest in your ability and that of your team leaders and managers to empower others.

Experiment with ways to facilitate innovation 

Mixing up teams, holding brainstorming sessions, conducting weekly workshops – each of these approaches can potentially unlock the innovative potential of your company’s employees.

Foster a flexible leadership culture that promotes innovation 

It is the responsibility of organisational leaders to nurture a sense of innovation among managers and employees. This begins with your own attitude and approach.

Reward experimentation, even when the benefits aren’t apparent 

Though it’s natural to praise examples of successful innovation, it is just as important to celebrate attempts that didn’t go so well, since a fear of failure is one of the biggest impediments to true creativity.

Acknowledge employees who innovate 

Rewarding the exact employees who came up with an innovative solution, rather than passing the praise down through an intermediary manager is a powerful motivator for your company’s workforce to approach problems with a fresh perspective.

Train your leaders to promote innovative thinking

In this rapidly shifting modern economy, organisations across the board need to embrace the power of business innovation and invest in soft skills and leadership skills to create a company-wide culture of innovation. DeakinCo.’s corporate training programs provide tailored solutions for organisations to get ahead.

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