Innovation can provide numerous benefits to your company. It stops the company stagnating and it allows you gain an edge over your competitors through staying relevant adapting to new opportunities quicker.
All companies have people that are capable of innovation, below are some techniques through which you can promote innovation and benefit from your existing resources.
Try and promote innovation around a particular problem to get everyone focused. It could be said that “Constraints are the engines for innovation”. Getting everyone focused on a particular problem also avoids people going off on unproductive tangents or suggesting things that may not be useful or relevant at the present time.
Foster a culture that supports and rewards innovation
Highlighting previous ideas that have been successful can be inspirational. It is also worthwhile having a good and generous reward scheme in place to provide incentive for creating new ideas.
Encourage Inter-disciplinary Learning
Group together individuals that don’t normally work together in brainstorming sessions. This cross fertilization will help people gain a different perspective on an idea they had clearly established in their own mind, and hopefully create new ideas and solutions.
Use all members of an organisation. As all those different perspectives could be beneficial. Also there may be certain people who you wouldn’t expect to have good ideas that do, but no one ever asked them.
Use different prompts to facilitate innovation
There are many different tools and techniques that can be used facilitate innovation. Brainstorming is one of the classic techniques, creating mind-maps and setting up a forum where people can post and discuss ideas is also very useful.
Get inspiration from other industries
Take a good look at a company that has been successful in another industry and see if there is anything that you can incorporate into your own business.
Identify your innovators
Some people tend to be more innovative than others – try and identify the most innovative people and provide them with the resources and encouragement they require to help them innovate more effectively.
Give people “Innovation Time Off”
Give people a set amount of time every week where they can let their imaginations run wild where they can work on their own projects.
This may be difficult in today’s economy, but look at the big picture – take a look at Google for inspiration. Their AdSense for Content program was developed using “20% time”, and it is now clearly established as one of their most profitable revenue streams.
In short there are numerous ways to improve innovation, so why not give it a try and reap the rewards.