Source : Forbes
U.S. executives are increasingly embracing innovation as a tool to drive their business forward, yet many of them have unrealistic goals and fail to generate the expected returns, according to a survey by Accenture. To be effective, business owners need to have different approaches to innovation, learn from their past mistakes and set reasonable goals, the study showed.
While 63% of companies are hiring chief innovation officers (CIOs) and more than 90% are using new technologies to support the innovation process, many still struggle to create and encourage a truly innovative culture across the board. Whether it’s by engaging your entire organization, learning how to celebrate failure, or looking for inspiration in other industries, there are multiple ways your business can become more innovative and change the way employees work together.
Here are 12 steps any business can take to bring a breath of fresh air to its ranks, as recommended by leading members of Forbes Coaches Council.
1. Create A Culture Of Innovation
Innovation is such a buzzword these days. What truly creates an innovative culture is open-mindedness to allow for new ideas, failure, and learning from the process. As the book Mindset by Carol Dweck states, people can have a fixed mindset (closed, not open to change) or a growth mindset. Teach your employees a growth mindset and allow for innovation to thrive. – Monica Thakrar, MTI
2. Celebrate Failure
To be innovative, you need to be creative. Nothing kills creativity like fear of being wrong. Create environments where failing and being wrong is celebrated. One social media consultancy has a “Church of Fail” that applauds people for sharing how they failed and what they learned from it. By celebrating mistakes and failure, you are allowing people to be more creative and thus more innovative. – Julia M. Winston, Brave Communication
3. Maximize Who You Already Have On Your Team
If your team has hit a wall where innovation isn’t the norm, it may be time to shake things up — not by hiring a new person but by adjusting the position of who you currently have. Give a project that is outside of their normal job description. This forces them to forget what they know and to create a new thing. Everything you need is often right in front of you. – Maleeka T. Hollaway, The Official Maleeka Group, LLC.
4. Stop Focusing On Products And Services
Any company can hinder innovation when it defines itself in terms of its products and services. Think instead of your assets and strategic skills, and build those into your core competencies. By defining yourself in terms of your assets, you allow your employees the freedom to utilize their skills to provide solutions rather than boxing them into a fixed format. – Lianne Lyne, PLP Coaching, LLC
5. Get Outside
It’s easy to get caught up in doing things the way they’ve always been done. Break the cycle by getting away from the desk and out of the typical environment. Enjoy summer! Have an innovation session in which you get outside. Have a meeting in a park or an open space and encourage free thinking. Keep it productive by leading a group exercise that results in actionable steps once back in the office. – Barbara OMalley, Exec Advance LLC
6. Look To Other Areas Of The Marketplace
Organizations frequently turn to the other companies within their industry to brainstorm or emulate. Instead, seek out insight and ideas in the places where you’d least expect to turn. Conduct due diligence on the companies that are thriving in other sectors. Find the innovative ways they engage their employees, the new apps their customers use, and the different processes that create efficiencies. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
7. Re-Humanize The Work
Innovation is born of creativity and vulnerability. People need to feel safe to fail in order to be both creative and vulnerable. Therefore, ensure all leadership, including the CIO, keeps humanity at the center of the work. Build trust intentionally, prioritize learning, create inclusive development space, and model behavior that illuminates the humanity of risk and failure. – Tonyalynne Wildhaber, Coaching & Consulting By Tonyalynne
8. Create Employee Personas
Truly bringing out employees’ creative juices starts with finding out more about what their unique needs are to unleash innovation company-wide. Borrowing from marketing that uses buyer personas — think employee personas. Creating employee personas gets companies to understand the unique needs of distinct employee segments so as to uncover practical insights on what employees need to innovate. – Alexandra Salamis, Integral Leadership Design
9. Invest In Knowledge Management
Often, the challenge is not having innovative people or ideas, but rather identifying the people and the ideas. Many of the best innovations percolate from the bottom to the top of organizations. Hence, organizations can best foster innovation and collaboration by having a culture of knowledge sharing. Investing in a robust knowledge management infrastructure provides the necessary mechanisms. – Eddie Turner, Eddie Turner LLC
10. Solicit Feedback And Spy On Workarounds
Encourage employees to rave and rant about processes and policies. Then ask them for suggestions. Also, spy on the loopholes, shortcuts, and workarounds they already employ to get around bureaucratic, stifling, inhibiting processes. They are implementing great ideas, albeit unauthorized. Praise their initiative, and see how it can be adopted/adapted company/team-wide. – Vikram Rajan, phoneBlogger.net
11. Get Everyone Off Their “Buts”
The simple semantic shift from “yeah, but” to “yes, and” creates a culture of innovation! “Yes, and” encourages whimsy and rewards high ideaphoria (rate of flow of ideas). “Yes, and” eliminates in-the-box thinking. Make it an organizational game to intentionally respond and reward all ideas, comments and solution-seeking conversations with a powerful “yes, and” instead of a discouraging “yeah, but.” – Terri Babers, Positive Changes Coaching & Training
12. Invest In Training, Redefine Incentives
Equip your existing employees with tools, technology and time to collaborate and innovate. Schedule this time. Invest in innovation workshops and training. Don’t just talk about it and carry innovation culture as a slogan, and don’t appoint one person to wear the innovation culture hat alone. Then back that culture with metrics, incentives and bonuses that correspond. Want a great idea? Invest in your people! – John O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.