Innovation is one of those words that tends to be overused in business as a ‘buzzword’ by people who want to seem like they’re doing something incendiary when they’re really just pointing by numbers. However, with the right ambition and the right concepts, innovation needn’t be a dirty word. Indeed, it’s the innovative businesses that stand the test of time.
A survey by Robert Half found that 35% of CFOs feel the largest roadblock to success is a lack of truly innovative ideas but how do you encourage it within your own business in a way that’s genuine and useful?
Make them care – If your employees don’t feel any kind of personal connection to the company then they see you just as a paycheque and little more. Keep your team in the loop and make them feel valued and they are that much more likely to offer up ideas that could change the business for the better.
Shift your organisational mindset – It’s the kind of bold, outside-the-box business thinking favoured by the Apples and Googles of the world that has made Silicon Valley so vibrant and innovative. So many businesses are focused on short-term results over long-term change and that leads to stagnation. If you want your business to grow then you might need to shift things at a fundamental level and change how you think about your business and its goals.
Encourage your employees to make suggestions – Great ideas rarely happen in a siloed approach to working. The very best ideas are almost always collaborative. Make your employees aware that you’re open to suggestions and reward innovative thinking and ideas.
Don’t fear failure – Failure should never be seen as a dreaded destination but as a stepping stone to eventual success. It’s the fear of failure that holds so many people back from making truly groundbreaking and innovative suggestions. Whether you’re looking for innovative technology or ways of structuring the business, don’t be afraid to dig deep and experiment.
Set time aside for innovation – Inspiration can strike like lighting sometimes but, more often than not, it’s aa long hard slog that requires dedication and time. So, set aside at least an hour in every workday specifically for innovative thinking sessions – brainstorming sessions, if you will.
Lead from the front – Encouraging innovation isn’t just about giving your employees space and freedom to innovate but about innovating yourself. The very best innovative business leaders are those that are transparent with their own ideas and motivations and can act as role models for their staff.