We live in a world that is in a state of constant and continuous changes. In the business world, for example, consumer trends and preferences change rapidly, sometimes even within a month or less. This creates a challenge for companies are they are necessitated to either be flexible enough to quickly adapt to the changes or face failure and being edged out of business by competitors.
One of the most important drivers of adaptability is the ability to innovate. Innovation contributes to increased creativity and the uniqueness of a company and its products. A culture of innovation also improves productivity and allows a team/company to continuously improve itself.
While innovation is important and every company desires it, nurturing a culture of innovation can be difficult; especially because there is no single best way of doing it. Nonetheless, the following tips can help you in your endeavors to nurture a culture of innovation among your employees.
1. Involve your Employees
While it is possible to come up with a company-led strategy to enhance innovation based on established best practices, it may not be the best way to do it. Instead, it is advisable to also incorporate the opinions and views of employees concerning what they believe will help them become more productive. This way, it is easier for employees to buy into the anticipated changes and to also view them as genuine and designed to improve them.
2. Empower Employees
In addition to listening to employees, it is also essential to make them feel trusted and useful. Employees place great value in having some degree of autonomy to perform their tasks and responsibilities. However, empowering employees and trusting them with tasks and responsibilities also allows them to think freely and to come up with new solutions for problems.
3. Acknowledge that Learning Occurs through Failing
Many of the world’s most important innovations were the accumulation of hard work and numerous failures. Fit is through trying, failing and trying again, that innovation occurs. Knowing this, companies need to develop cultures where failure is not shamed or looked down upon; one where failure is seen as a learning opportunity.
4. Reward Employees for Innovation and Creativity
According to the theory of Operant Conditioning, it is possible to reinforce or enhance innovation behavior in an organization through the use of a reward system. Rewards may be in the form of simple verbal praises, bonuses, extra time-off days or even a salary raise.
5. Innovation Labs and Contests
An innovation culture can also be nurtured through holding regular innovation labs, workshops, and contests in the workplace. This allows employees to work collaboratively to come up with new solutions or new products. It also fosters healthy competition on creativity among employees.