Innovation is a term often associated with product development – how new products and services are developed and constructed. However, there are enormous benefits from employees bringing innovative thinking and problem-solving in their everyday roles.
So what is the best way to encourage innovation in your organisation?
According to Business Victoria, the first step is to develop a culture of innovation in your organisation. Ways to do this might include ensuring that staff understand that new and different ways to approach problem-solving is encouraged and that all ideas are accepted and valued. Formal structures might include setting up ‘think tanks’ involving cross-functional teams who need to work together to determine new ways to solve problems. Having a collaborative space set up where employees can meet up to discuss ideas will increase cohesion amongst staff.
Hiring strategies might also need to be developed that include seeking out new hires that have a background in innovation or innovative thinking. This could mean being more flexible than your traditional approach to recruitment and considering candidates who may not satisfy some of the competency-based job requirements but could contribute extensively to an innovative culture.
Developing a framework for innovation contributes to the focus of it within an organisation and enables employees to understand the process around it. This might be as simple as increasing collaboration during the planning stages within a division, incorporating brainstorming sessions and understanding how to assess an idea to determine if it is feasible.
It’s important to implement new ideas quickly so that employees can see progress and understand the value of working in an innovative culture. If some ideas are not assessed while the successful ones implemented, employees will be less likely to put forward ideas in the first place. If the innovation can be attributable to an employee or group of employees, it’s important to firstly reward them for their contribution and to assist in the execution of the idea – ‘bringing it to life’.
In the article ‘10 Ways to Promote Innovation at the Workplace’, Bayt.com suggests that rewarding innovative thinking is important as it encourages employees to take risks. Similarly, it’s important to reward ideas regardless of whether they are put into action or not. By rewarding the flow of ideas generated, employees will focus on ideation rather than whether their ideas are likely to be implemented by the organization.
If your business would like support with the process of encouraging innovation in your organisation, contact the HR team at Flexi Personnel.