How to Encourage Innovation at Your Company
The world of business never stays still, and your company can’t just coast along on old successes forever. To increase profit and boost your company’s growth, you need to encourage innovation. Your company needs creative people who spend their time coming up with better and more advanced products and services that could become the next big thing for it. However, innovation is not something that just anyone can do, and not every company knows how to encourage it. Read on to learn how to make the innovation process work at your company.
Incorporate Different Kinds of Thinkers on the Team
You need to choose people with different kinds of skills to create the most innovative team possible. Choose people from different education backgrounds. Make sure you have some who can handle multiple projects at once, and some who do well focusing intensely on a single task, and some who are flexible enough to hop to different projects as needed. You need some people with a lot of experience, and you also need inexperienced people with new ideas and up-to-date education.
Allow the Innovators to do Their Jobs without Interference
Innovation is not something that can be done according to a plan. The innovation process often takes unexpected turns in terms of budget and time. The worst thing you can do is push your creative team to stay on schedule and under budget, as doing so will interfere with the creative process. Instead, allow them to work on their own terms as long as their innovation ideas align with the company’s objectives. As long as they understand that whatever they come up with should be about bettering the company in the long run, cut them as much slack as you can.
The creative team will sometimes need help from other employees in the company and, as the leader, it is your job to make that easy to happen. Introduce them to the other departments and explain what each department does for the company. Introduce them to key employees. The easier it is for the creative team to reach out to the right people, the easier it is for them to innovate.
Cut through the Hierarchy
Every company has a hierarchy that keeps executives insulated from most employees. It may take meetings with two or three people before most employees can contact the real decision makers. This hierarchy exists for a reason, but the creative team needs to be mostly exempt from it. The creative team needs to be able to reach you and other executives quickly if they have any questions or needs. Never require them to book an appointment to see the executives they need to see. Give them a direct means of contact that they can easily reach you with if need be.
Although it is good to ask questions if you notice something you don’t understand, you should remember that you do not know enough to interfere with the creative process. Creative people have knowledge and skills which you don’t have, so don’t try to control the form their product or service ideas take. Confine your judgments instead to the finished products.
Offer your full support to your innovation team and encourage them in every way you can. Identify the best innovators in your company and boost their skills to boost your business’s growth. This approach will pay off in the long run.