Organisations today no longer compete with products and services but rather with new innovations. However, to power this innovation-driven competitiveness, employees have to be motivated and driven to conceptualise new ideas.
This is because, without innovation, firms cannot survive in today’s cutthroat business environment.
Innovation involves complex processes, demands understanding the emerging changes and change drivers in a business and social environment.
So, to meet and sustain this demand for modern-day innovation, here are quick ten tips to get started with organisational innovation.
1. Define the innovation challenge
Organisations should always clearly define the innovation-demanding challenges to improve the chance of success at innovation. This can involve engaging stakeholders to conceive new ideas, rectify problems, and address market needs to speed up the innovation process.
2. Create an idea-sharing platform
To bring employees together to collaboratively share and generate ideas, you’ll need a facilitative platform.
This dedicated platform should be able to allow anyone to submit their ideas, comment and vote on ideas from other employees.
3. Create innovation teams
Many times there are employees in a company who have innovative ideas but aren’t good at communicating them. To create a safe space for innovation, it’s important to set up a team to help support and encourage idea-sharing.
If your organisation doesn’t have the resources for a dedicated team, you can set up a makeshift innovation team constituting of members from disparate areas in your business.
4. Develop the right toolsets, skill sets, and mindsets for innovation
The right innovative toolsets, skill sets, and open mindsets are important to drive innovative thinking.
The right toolsets can range from prototyping, brainstorming, mind-mapping, to excursion tools.
The right skill sets are usually facilitated by a framework to allow innovation leaders to exploit their toolsets, knowledge, and abilities to accomplish their goals.
The right mindset revolves around attitudes and resulting behaviours that enable innovation tools and skills to be effective. These can include tolerance for ambiguity, attentiveness, courage and a grasp of polarities.
5. Effectively communicate
It is critical for employees to ‘buy in’ to innovative ideas. Having several avenues for sharing information increases the likelihood that all employees shall find a valuable knowledge source within an organisation.
This also decreases the chances of uncertainty and negativity, thus helping employees to be open to new ideas.
Furthermore, ensure to let employees know how the innovation affects them, and the positive outcomes it could potentially bring. In this way, they can see how the innovative offering can apply directly to their situation, and then maybe decide how to invest their time in it.
6. Promote rewards and appreciation
Ensure to support and encourage idea-sharing through rewards as sometimes employees within a company require an incentive to share ideas.
Always leave room for failures, and even congratulate well-planned projects that didn’t work out. Such a practice can encourage risk-taking as smarting failures can trigger eventual success later.
Failures are an inescapable component of the innovation process. So, celebrating innovation slowly mitigates performance problems as it sends other employees a powerful signal that innovation is something that the company genuinely values. As a result, employees will be less reluctant to take risks inherent while innovating.
7. Provide feedback
Whenever intelligent ideas are formulated, ensure to communicate and celebrate them.
Unfortunately, most organisations usually wait to see what happens before announcing innovations to limit exposure to failure.
However, the development phase is where risk-taking happens. Thus, it’s recommended that leaders set time in meetings to provide feedback and updates on any ongoing innovations while celebrating positive failures.
8. Promote collaboration
Studies have shown that the majority of disruptive innovations typically spring from collaborative team efforts. Encourage your employees to always collaborate with each other, even in scenarios where they conceptualised an idea individually.
9. Create an innovative company culture
Innovation management is a team sport, and you require other like-minded people to succeed. To achieve this success, innovative company culture has to be prevalent.
A culture of innovation keeps employees excited to improve everything they touch, and they are more willing and capable of seeing the ideas through to execution.
10. Understand the work of innovation at the leader level
Innovation efforts vary by level.
For instance, individual leaders are responsible for ideation and creation as their innovation work revolves around seeking and generating novel solutions and approaches.
Team leaders are typically managers, line supervisors, or project leaders, accountable for team performance and managing resources. Their innovation related work includes leading group innovation processes and getting resources from outside their units.
Leaders of managers serve as connectors and champions to support and protect the innovation team from bureaucratic organisational systems. All these leaders need to be recognised and given the right tools to drive innovation within an organisation. And thus, bridge silos and initiate changes to accommodate any promising innovations.
Planning to drive innovation in your organisation by arranging training, workshops and coaching? Reach out to us at Growth Academy Asia.
Co-founder and Managing Director
Stuart Harris, co-founder of Growth Academy Asia, has a vast background in corporate events and learning & development. As co-founder and managing director at Team Building Asia, Stuart has developed a large network of international clients over the past 20 years and brought an innovative perspective to the more traditional elements of team building, which lead to the founding Growth Academy Asia. With GAA, he aspires to disrupt the L&D industry with the immersive VR organisational and leadership programmes.