How to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

Innovation is a quality that every business should seek to improve. From creating new products to improving the way services are delivered or implementing more efficient ways of working within a team, there is always room for new ideas, and the most successful companies out there offer great USPs and they’re doing things that their competitors have never done before.

To create great products and deliver best in class services you need equipment, but as well as financing your equipment you need a great team that is willing to take risks and be innovative. So how can you promote innovation within your workplace and inspire a team to do something extraordinary? We have listed a few pointers to take you from brainstorming in the boardroom to implementing and celebrating successful ideas.

Ask For Ideas

Innovation can come from any team member, and forming a solid idea is often a collaborative effort. If you’re not already asking employees for ideas, you could be missing out on some great new ways to really make a difference to your business. If you have a specific problem you need to focus on, challenge employees to generate ideas in that specific area. Every employee’s input is valid, whether they have worked at the company for years, just graduated from university, or came to you after working for one of your competitors. Ideas from new starters can be particularly valuable because they can ask questions about why you do things a certain way, and suggest alternatives without being swayed by the old adage “we’ve always done things this way”.

Make sure your employees know that you want to hear their ideas and that their opinions matter. Let them know the importance of their input, and create encourage brainstorming. It’s important to make time for ideas and you can do this by allocating a particular time for brainstorming and workshopping. You could even create a part of the office dedicated to working together and generating ideas, or place suggestions boxes around the office.

There are skills involved in creative problem solving, so one way to turn ideas into solutions you can really use is to offer training in lateral thinking, mind-mapping, creative leadership, and brainstorming.

Remember quantity leads to quality, and collaborating and thinking of new ideas together can inspire more ideas, more creativity, and more solutions for your business.

Create A Safe Space

In order for employees to offer up their ideas, they need to be able to do so in a safe space. That means there can’t be any risk of ideas being mocked or immediately shot down. Negative feedback will make people hesitate the next time they have an idea to put forward, so hold off on immediately evaluating every idea as good or bad. Don’t make anyone feel foolish, but do be supportive and encourage team members to do the same.

When it’s time to put ideas into action, it’s also important that employees feel comfortable taking risks. They need to know that it’s okay if they try something and it doesn’t turn out as they had hoped, so that they aren’t put off trying new things in the future. Knowing there will be no backlash if an idea doesn’t work out will encourage people to try new things and be more innovative.

Change It Up

One way to generate new ideas is to have a change of scenery. Working in another part of the office or even outside of the office completely can help get those creative juices flowing. Temporary job swaps can also help people to bring alternative ways of thinking to a job role or problem, and afterwards people can return to their own jobs with a new perspective after seeing things from the point of view of someone in a different role.

Boost Commitment and Motivation

Employees who understand and share the vision of your organisation are likely to be more committed and motivated, and therefore will come up with more ideas to help you move in the right direction. If an individual’s goals are aligned with that of the company, great ideas can develop. You can help with this by improving communication across your business so that employees know what is going on and what you are trying to achieve. They will feel more involved and therefore more motivated to see their ideas through to completion.

Put Ideas Into Practise

Create a straightforward system for evaluating ideas, and make sure they are properly considered and responded to in a timely manner. Once they are approved, execute them as soon as possible – if ideas aren’t put into action people might think there is no point in suggesting anything because it will never be implemented. Your business will not be innovative if you have lots of ideas but don’t apply them. However, if you do put ideas into action people will see how they may be able to make a real difference to the business.

When executing ideas prepare for failure and if it doesn’t work out, learn from any mistakes. Continue to reward creativity even if ideas don’t pan out the way you wanted them to.

Reward Ideas

When someone has an idea and takes the risk of putting it into practise, it is important to reward them – whether or not their idea works. Recognise the work they have put into the idea, give them the credit they deserve, and they will feel respected and motivated to continue doing great work.

If you’ve got a great team in place but need a little help financing the equipment you need to produce innovative new products, Arkle Finance can help. Contact our friendly, expert team on 01933 304791 or contact us using the form on the right.

How to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

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