How to Cultivate Innovation at Work

Empowering your employees to think outside-the-box is the only way to ensure that you are continually strengthening your internal processes and coming up with new and innovative solutions to problems. One of the biggest reasons that companies go out of business is that they get stuck in “how things were,” and forget to evolve to “the way things are.” This means that you need to be cultivating a culture of forward thinking. Start implementing the following tips today.  

Brainstorm with the Full Team 

As the saying goes, “none of us is as good as all of us.” Generally speaking, the more (qualified) people that are able to contribute to an idea, the stronger it will be. It is important that your employees are able to bounce ideas off of one another, and do a “gut check” to make sure that you are accounting for any unforeseen hurdles along the way. Just make sure to watch out for “black hatters” that will put down ideas that actually have a lot of potential. Seeing the positive is just as important as seeing the negative. 

Create a Creative Environment

Encourage employees to get up and move away from their desks on a regular basis. Instead of communicating over phone, email, and instant messenger, make a habit of holding meetings in person. You should also make sure that your workspace is – as much as possible – conducive to creative thinking. Continually rotate the artwork in your workspace, so that the environment is continually changing and that your employees’ thinking does not get stale. 

Make Time for Passion Projects 

I think that we can probably all agree that Google is one of the most innovative companies out there today. One of the ways that the company helps its employees stay creative is by giving them a certain percentage of time to work on company-relevant passion projects. It might seem counterintuitive, but when you do this, you can actually increase productivity and reduce burnout and turnover rates. 

If You Want Innovation, Be Open 

Sure, all of the above tips can help your employees be more innovative at work. But if you do not make a point of listening to their ideas and making an effort to bring some of them to life, it will all be for naught. Diversity is also key to new and innovative thinking. If all of your employees have the same background, then there is a pretty good chance that all of the ideas will be pretty similar. When you hire with an eye on diversity, you hire for innovation. 


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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