Make Room For Innovation In Your Business Using These 3 Techniques
What’s the primary goal of your business?
If you’re like the majority, you said, “Get more customers” or “Growth.” Whatever your answer or the industry you’re in, it all boils down to problem-solving. You want to address the customer’s pain points or provide innovative ways to enhance their lives.
Progressive companies deliberately create a culture of innovation where leaders allow staff the space and freedom to develop new approaches to doing their jobs. When you’re trying to foster innovation within your company, ask yourself and your team: “How can we innovate in ways that improve our operations, productivity, and bottom line?”
How Innovation Benefits Businesses
Chris Rock once said, “If it’s not new, it’s through.”
If you look at successful companies able to evolve with market forces or ride and survive the tide of new trends, they have several things in common:
- They have a singular vision for the company’s mission and a unified strategy for realizing its vision
- They create a positive corporate culture
- They’re customer-oriented
- They attract and nurture the best talent
- They’re disciplined enough to stay the course but flexible and insightful enough to remain agile
- They’re not afraid to take calculated risks
But, what does innovation in business mean? It means creating more efficient processes or improving products or services for more satisfied customers. That translates to altering your business model, incorporating changes in your existing environment, and providing staff with the bandwidth for creative thinking.
However, innovation shouldn’t be an afterthought.
It should be part of your core strategy from the start. Shifting to a culture of innovation may sound like a lot of work, but the dividends amount to a high ROI. Becoming more innovative and progressive will allow your business to:
- Conserve resources, both financial and human
- Manage growth more efficiently
- Increase competitiveness and productivity
- Improve brand recognition and support customer loyalty
- Establish new relationships and nurture existing ones
- Respond to shifting markets with confidence and agility
Even if implemented right, innovation also incurs some risks that you should acknowledge. These include:
- Business disruption. Even a short amount of downtime could mean losing market share
- Losing business to the competition
- Losing key staff members to the competition
- Reducing profits or experiencing a falloff in productivity
- Going out of business
The chances for these setbacks increase if you don’t expect them and plan/respond accordingly.
Three Techniques That Support an Innovative Corporate Culture
Innovation doesn’t mean building a better mousetrap. It means having the creative freedom and mental agility to look at that metaphorical mousetrap from a different angle and translate your ideas or vision into actionable goals.
Permission to innovate begins at the top.
Business leaders have a responsibility to oversee and manage the financial aspects of corporate innovation. This concept has become so vital to business survival, that larger corporations have even added a Chief Innovation Officer to their C-suite of executives.
Once your team has the resources in place, they need the literal and figurative space to expand on the possibilities. They also need the freedom to take ownership of the successes and failures that spur further innovation. Instituting a non-hierarchical corporate structure removes the barriers to progress and supports communication and cooperation throughout the enterprise.
Here are three techniques that will inspire and support a culture of creativity and innovation within your workplace.
Make Your Workplace a Learning Space
If your team doesn’t have the skills that support a progressive work environment, they’ll lack the ability to move forward. Missing innovation doesn’t mean employees don’t have the inherent talent for creativity. But, without training, education, and specific skills, your employees will not have confidence in their abilities, which will hinder progress. Slow progress happens in established enterprises that use more traditional business models and have their ways of doing things. Retraining or onboarding requires a period of adjustment, patience, and overcoming the fear of change.
The looks and feels of your office also affect your team’s productivity and ability to focus.
When you create a comfortable workspace where staff feels valued, it empowers and inspires them to become invested in the success of your enterprise. A collaborative, modern workspace can increase productivity over 10% and attract younger talent. Start small if you need to. Succeeding in one department or improving one process will translate to enthusiasm and a thirst for further innovation.
Provide Staff With the Room to Scale
Shortsightedness is antithetical to success in any organization. You may have created a great product or delivered on your vision of better service. But what comes next?
Business leaders talk about growth, but what does that mean in non-subjective terms? To generate business innovation, managed growth that supports business scalability in both macro and granular ways is essential. Make sure you align your strategy with your long and short term vision, and that all stakeholders have the same commitment, determination, and means to take that vision to its maximum potential.
Give Them Room to Fail
For every business success, there are several failures along the way. We rarely talk about business or strategic shortcomings in a positive way, but they provide hidden lessons and a road map toward future improvement. When you remove the fear of failure from the picture, replace it with the freedom to make mistakes, learn from them, and re-calibrate your collective approach.
Innovation doesn’t begin or end with creative market disruption. It’s something you should infuse into the very fabric and structure of your enterprise.
Is your company supporting a climate of creativity?
Guest Blogger Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter.